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Nottinghamshire Students Join WW1 Creative Project

  • Date: 12/09/2014
  • Category: General

Local school pupils will be visiting a re-constructed battle trench to gain inspiration for a creative music making and dance project commemorating the start of the First World War.

More than 100 young people from Farmilo Primary School in Pleasley; St Peter’s Church of England Primary School in Mansfield and Queen Elizabeth Academy in Mansfield will be involved in the project organised by East Midlands professional orchestra Sinfonia Viva in conjunction with Nottinghamshire County Council’s Music Education Hub.

They will work with Orchestral musicians and the Tom Dale Company to create their own music and dance pieces for the latest stage of the acclaimed ‘Dark Clouds are Smouldering into Red’ educational residency.

To gain inspiration for their creative work, they will visit the reconstructed trench at Sherwood Pines and join in music and dance workshops.

The day will include pupils reading extracts of letters from soldiers at the Front and then writing their own letters which will form the basis of the songs that they will compose for the project.

They will then join a series of workshops at their own schools with Viva composer James Redwood and musicians as well as with dancers from the Tom Dale Company before coming together for a public performance of their music and dance compositions alongside the Orchestra and Tom Dale Company at the Palace Theatre, Mansfield on October 23.

Viva’s acclaimed ‘Dark Clouds are Smouldering into Red’ education residency has so far brought together school and college students in Derby and Lincoln.

It will now be the turn of nearly 100 school pupils in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, followed by local communities in Lincolnshire and Scunthorpe; who will each create their own interpretation of the theme behind the project – exploring the emotions of separation, loss and social upheaval that World War One brought to soldiers and their families.

James Redwood’s haunting composition interpreting the tensions which led to the outbreak of war, the emotions on the battlefield and back at home and the hope for the future will also be performed by Sinfonia Viva in a concert on October 9 at Djanogly Theatre in Nottingham.

Viva Education Manager Marianne Barraclough explained: “‘Dark Clouds are Smouldering into Red’ is a unique opportunity for young people to research and create their own interpretation of the war and the impact both on the battle field and on soldiers’ families at home through music, words and dance.

“The re-constructed trenches at Sherwood Pines is the perfect location for the young people joining the Mansfield project to gain a wider appreciation of what life must have been like for the soldiers and to perhaps put themselves in the shoes of the families who were waiting at home for their safe return.

“After working individually as school groups with our creative team, they then come together with the full Orchestra for very moving and poignant public performances of their own work, the orchestral commission by James Redwood and the choreography of Tom Dale.

“This is Viva’s most extensive education residency and the first stages in Derby and Lincoln saw some incredible music and dance work from the young people involved.

“We now look forward to working with new groups to help them create their own interpreted work on the theme.

“We are very grateful for the support of our funders, sponsors and Arts Council England for enabling this work to involve so many young people to mark this important centenary of the start of the First World War.”

Lindsey Brown, Learning Ranger at Sherwood Pines, added “We have created the replica trenches at Sherwood Pines to commemorate the history of the site. From 1914 this was home to the Clipstone Camp, which is where many troops will have trained in trench warfare. So having the exhibit used for a project such of this feels like a really fitting tribute.

“On a personal level, this project with Sinfonia Viva is an opportunity to share my research into my own family history. This includes five close relatives who fought in the war including my grandfather, who was an Air Mechanic 3rd class in the Royal Flying Corp, which later became the RAF.”

The project has been backed by a wide range of sponsors and supporters, including Rolls-Royce plc, Heritage Lottery Fund, The Foyle Foundation and Orchestras Live, and the extended tour has been made possible by a £89,118 grant from Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund.

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