Seeing It Through 15 November
Some images from the show, ‘Seeing It Through’ which was performed at Hertford Theatre Studio on 15 November 2014. Our small cast of five – Toni Brooks, Catherine Forrester (seen in the photo playing young Ware soldier Claud Sweeney in the trenches), Rob Madeley and Steve Scales, plus Director Richard Syms who also took the narrator role of the Editor of the Mercury, gave fantastic performances which were very well received by the audiences. (In the pic, left to right: Steve, Toni, Catherine, Rob).
Now we hope we can put it on again!
The story of how ordinary people lived through the First World War is worth telling. It is a powerful counter to the glorification and mythologising of war, while also revealing much about the roots of how we live our lives now.
Scenes from the performance at Hertford Theatre on 8 July. Rhiannon Drake as Mabel and Ken Boyter as Harry in a scene from Erin Thompson’s play Over By Christmas. October 1914: Harry has just told his fiancee Mabel that he has had to enlist, in order to protect Mabel’s teenage brother who was ordered to enlist by his employer. Mabel is not happy.
Ken and Rhiannon as 13 year old Scouts Seal and King in 1914, in Emma Blowers’ play Be Prepared and Be Ware, convinced they have stumbled across German spies who are making explosives to blow up London.
Seal and King four years on – Rhiannon as a Hertford Grammar School boy in a very fetching blazer!
Two plays that have emerged from the Introduction to Playwriting Course in Hertford are getting a script-in-hand performance next week. Both writers have done a lot of work on their plays and a great deal of revising and redrafting is still going on – but it is going to be a really good evening, moving and entertaining.
Tuesday 8 July 2014
8pm – 10pm
At the River Room, Hertford Theatre
Be prepared… and Be Ware
by Emma Blowers
1914. Keen boy scout Seal is ready for the thrilling adventure of wartime, spotting German spies and training to be a hero on the streets and fields of Ware. But the reality of war forces him to learn that doing your duty can mean difficult choices.
Over by Christmas by Erin Thompson
Braughing, 1914. Harry and Mabel are engaged to be married when war breaks out. While Harry enlists to fight in the trenches of France, Mabel is left at home to take over Harry’s job on the railway. Each is changed by their experience and they become caught in a desperate struggle to find a future together in the shadow of the Great War.
Actors: Ken Boyter and Rhiannon Drake
‘Seeing It Through’ is the title of a new drama being written and researched by myself, Emma Blowers and Erin Thompson. We have set out to tell the story of life on the ‘home front’ in Hertford, Ware and the surrounding villages during the Great War, from 1914 to 1919.
We want to explore the First World War, rather than commemorate it. So much of our modern world began in that period, but that was not obvious to the people living through it, especially in a place like East Herts where ancient and modern ways of life were side by side. Getting hands in the field for the harvest was as much of a concern as sheltering from air raids.
Doing the research is a laborious but fascinating business and stories are taking shape. We aim to start off the project with an evening’s show in November, based on verbatim material from the time – letters, reports, newspaper editorials, songs and poems.
Our longer term goal is to do a full length play as a community production, with professional actors alongside local actors to tell what we think will be a moving, surprising and vibrant story.
[By the way, the handsome chap above doesn’t figure in the story. It is actually my grandfather, Raymond Miller, posing for a photograph in his new uniform and surprisingly fancy boots, before he left for the Front in 1916].