With Shoebox Theatre, our not-for-profit community enterprise, I have been working on a local WWI project since January 2013. Our latest presentation at the beginning of this month was a mixture of poems from 1914-18 and contemporary writings which grew out of that conflict, together with another showing of our film, based on research into local stories. The group comprises adults across the age and aptitude spectrum, with a handful of teenagers. People come and go as other commitments allow, or their interest in a particular topic draws them in.
At last, after taking receipt of a purpose-built editing desktop and software upgrade, I have been able to export to a suitable format and upload the film to Vimeo for everyone who is interested to view. For ease of handling, I have divided the 45 minute film into 4 sections of unequal length, but as long as you go in the numerical order of the titles, it will make sense.
Poster for our first WWI presentation
Included in the film are interviews with individuals who researched family members or others with a local connection, who were involved in The Great War in various capacities. Also included are improvised sketches based on the stories we unearthed.
Most of the community participants were conducting research for the first time, and it was a pleasure to see how absorbed and dogged they became as they strove to unearth the stories they had chosen to find, and how much information it was possible to uncover despite the lapse of time. They searched archive copies of the Tamworth Herald, and with the facilities of Tamworth town Library and the support of its staff, checked facts in local history collections and parish records. On the internet they plumbed the BBC WWI history site and contacted unknown family members through ancestry. com and Face Book. From the Commonwealth Graves Commission website they found the resting places of the fallen, and through the Google search engine discovered poems and letters.
Of you would like to see some of the results you will find the film at this location. It is not a professional work, so please forgive the lack of finesse in the making.
Shoebox Theatre - "Lest We Forget": stories from WWI, 2014