Performing Arts

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Performing arts – expressing stories about the war through drama and theatre

Led by Dr Kurt Taroff and Dr Brenda Winter Palmer of Queen’s University Belfast Creative Arts, QUB

Drama and theatre offer powerful and engaging ways of thinking about the First World War and how it affected those at the time as well as today.

We’re interested in how modern theatre productions can help us to look again at the First World War, particularly the very complex and sometimes difficult personal impacts of the war that many families of the time felt. The Living Legacies Centre has particular expertise in the performing arts, especially connecting communities and helping groups and individuals to tell stories about themselves, through using the theatre. Dr Taroff and Dr Winter Palmer have a great deal of experience of working with community theatre groups, as well as links with arts and drama organisations and venues, to develop new productions and engage audiences.

There is potential to stage new drama inspired by the First World War today, as well as work with local, community-oriented theatre groups, to engage with local communities, to create interactive performances that bring First World War stories to life. These performances are themselves important as a record of the centenary of the war and its commemoration today and can be digitally recorded as living legacies of the First World War for future generations to see and hear.

The Medal in the Drawer charts the war-journeys of four of these volunteers, from Belfast’s Springfield Road, who join up to fight with the 36th Ulster Division and the Connaught Rangers.