Oral history project to bring the voices of Leicestershire First World War veterans to life

Posted by ap507 at Nov 06, 2014 01:55 PM |
East Midlands Oral History Archive teams up with playwright Andy Reeves for play informed by those who lived through the war

The University will feature strongly in a new play which brings the true experiences of Leicester and Leicestershire soldiers during the First World War to life.

A team from the East Midlands Oral History Archive (EMOHA) including Colin Hyde from the Centre for Urban History has collaborated with playwright Andy Reeves, himself a graduate of the University, on the play, which is entitled ‘The Petal and the Wire’ and produced by The Spark Arts. The play with tour nine city and county libraries in November.

The EMOHA provided most of the source material for the script, including dozens of sound files of veterans and civilians who lived through the war, recorded in the early 1980s.

As well as action scenes from the Leicestershire Regiment in France and Flanders, the play tackles Leicester’s reputation as a place of slow recruitment, and the strong non-conformist traditions of the city. One scene is in fact set in the University - or in the buildings of the 5th Northern General Hospital, as it was then.

Writer Andy Reeves said: “The source material provided by the University was fascinating and invaluable. Listening to the words of people recalling vivid memories, recorded in their front rooms, maybe with their clock ticking in the background really brought the past to life for me. The resulting play is very much about Leicester, and Leicester people, and how the war affected them.”

‘The Petal and the Wire’ opens at the Brite Centre, Braunstone on Tuesday 11 November at 6.30pm. Full details of the event and upcoming performances can be found here.