World War One ‘Fallen Voices’ performance at Aylesford School

Local pupils experience the sights, sounds and stories of Warwickshire people during the First World War.

Aylesford School pupils were treated to a live performance showcasing the sights, sounds and stories of those living during the First World War as they were retold and performed by local performers on Friday 23rd September at Aylesford School, Warwick.

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The performance, first performed at Leamington Spa Centre in October 2015, presented actual records held by Heritage and Culture Warwickshire (HCW) mixed with a range of well-known war poems and songs. The excerpts from original letters, postcards, diaries, newspapers, hospital records and other written material from Warwickshire’s archives were accompanied by a backdrop of stunning First World War photographs from HCW’s collections.

Year 10, 12 and 13 drama students from the popular Warwick school met Warwickshire characters such as Private George Bubb of the Army Veterinary Corps, writing home to sweetheart Alice, and brother and sister ‘Rollo’ and ‘Dotty’ Feilding as they recounted their experiences on the front line as a Lt-Colonel in the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards and an ambulance driver in letters to their mother. They also found out how Warwickshire people coped back on the home front. From school children picking blackberries for the war effort, to the vicar persuading his parish to ‘eat less bread’, everyone had a part to play.

The stories and characters were evocatively brought to life by performers Kieron Attwood and Hannah Graham and underpinned by a musical score written and performed by Derek Nisbet.

The performance was made possible thanks to the co-operation of Aylesford School’s drama department and a partnership with Warwick District Council.

A film of the performance will shortly be available to other schools, together with material from the archives, as a teaching resource. Gethin Jones, Head of Drama at Aylesford School, said: “This was a really professional production that brought to life the varied characters associated with our local history. The workshop was a fantastic opportunity for our 6th Form to engage with real life artefacts and explore creative ways of bringing them to life.”

HCW’s First World War material has been collated by a team of volunteers working on HCW’s Warwickshire at War project. Details of WCRO’s First World War documents will shortly be published on a special database which can be found here