Medal in the Drawer charts the journeys of four young men from Belfast & their horrifying experience of WW1.
During the summer of 1914 Ireland seemed to be on the verge of bloody civil war as Sir Edward Carson’s Ulster Volunteer Force prepared to take up guns in opposition to the seemingly inevitable introduction of Home Rule for Ireland. Instead, a shot rang out in Sarajevo ending the life of Austria’s Archduke Ferdinand and plunging Europe into the carnage of the First World War. It was world war, not civil war, which irrevocably determined the fate of Carson’s army and their Nationalist opponents in the summer of 1914.
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. In an immersive performance style the audience witness at first hand the tensions on the streets of Belfast in the years leading up to the outbreak of the European conflict. They follow the protagonists to France to experience the life of an army recruit in the lead up to the Battle of the Somme and participate in how the news of that devastating defeat was received back in Belfast. Their journey’s end is in the horror and pity of the Battle of Passchendaele.
“Medal in the Drawer is is a reflection on which parts of history a divided society chooses to remember and which parts it chooses to forget.
— Brenda Winter Palmer, Writer