East Dunbartonshire pupils Theatre of Remembrance shows

Working together...pupils from Turnbull High School and Boclair Academy have joined forces to work on the Theatre of Remembrance project.
Working together...pupils from Turnbull High School and Boclair Academy have joined forces to work on the Theatre of Remembrance project.

Pupils from Boclair Academy in Bearsden and Turnbull High School in Bishopbriggs are taking part in a project to commemorate World War One.

Using material held by local archives to create dramatic performances, the youngsters are bringing to life the voices and stories of individuals and their communities during the war.

Echoes of war heroes...East Dunbartonshire soldiers' stories will be retold by local pupils.

Echoes of war heroes...East Dunbartonshire soldiers' stories will be retold by local pupils.

The Theatre of Remembrance project is being delivered in partnership with East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Archives.

It was made possible thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War: then and now programme, with the Scottish Council on Archives receiving a grant of £9,600.

Groups of young people aged 15 to 18 from Turnbull High School and Boclair Academy will work together to develop scripts directly from First World War diaries, letters and archive material.

These collections offer insight into the experiences of poets, nurses, soldiers, families and conscientious objectors.

Each school group will work with two experienced theatre professionals to deliver a series of public performances.

The young people will be involved in every aspect of the project, from developing the script through to stage, sound, lighting and performance.

The live community performances will be filmed around the time of the 100-year commemoration of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018.

In support of the Scottish Government’s Year of Young People, the project will highlight the contributions young people make to culture and heritage.

Through dramatic performances of the accounts of those who lived through the war, the project will offer young people and the community the opportunity to connect to their heritage in moving and immediate ways.

Pupils will gain new skills and confidence in performing, alongside an in-depth understanding of the lived experiences of the war.

And they will give voice to the poignant and compelling stories found in local archives.

Sandy Marshall, chair of EDLC Trust, said: “Our archives and local studies collections are wonderful local resources, full of fascinating accounts of men and women from East Dunbartonshire who were involved in the First World War, on the battlefront and at home. 

“We are thrilled to be working with the Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Council on Archives, Turnbull High School and Boclair Academy on this exciting project.

“The pupils will learn about a tragic period in history in new and innovative ways, using original local sources, and discover for themselves the stories behind the people from this area whose lives were changed by the First World War.

“This year marks the culmination of the centenary commemorations of the war.

“The project will give local pupils an opportunity to commemorate the conflict and reflect on the devastating impact it had on their local communities.”

East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Archives holds letters written by three brothers from Milngavie to their parents while they were each on service in France.

The letters contain three very different experiences of the war, ranging from dramatic hand-to-hand combat, injury and loss of friends through to capture and imprisonment and requests for supplies from home.

All three brothers survived the war, returned to East Dunbartonshire and lived there until the 1970s, dying within three weeks of each other.

The collections also include diaries written by two East Dunbartonshire nurses who served in hospitals near the front lines in France.

Accounts describe their daily lives in detail, including an account of a Zeppelin raid and long hours of caring for wounded men, alongside excursions into cities like Paris and Rouen.

The pupils’ performances will be open to everyone in the local community, with dates to be announced in the coming weeks.

Lucy Casot, head of HLF Scotland, said: “Since April 2010, the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded over £70 million to more than 1300 projects marking this global centenary.

“With our small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in Theatre of Remembrance to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people, in particular, to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”