Members of the Theatre Royal Bath’s Young People’s Theatre (YPT) are set to stage The Eleventh Hour: The Great War Project at the egg theatre from Thursday 13th November to Saturday 15th November. Devised by the young company, with writing by professional writer, composer and radio producer, Paul Dodgson, this new stage production features four different performances connected by the events of a century ago. The four short plays – The Knock on the Door, Beyond Good and Evil, Hear Me and This Is Our Silence – will be presented in pairs. Audiences have the option of booking to see two or all four of the performances.
The Theatre Royal’s YPT production of The Eleventh Hour: The Great War Project will feature a cast of eighty-three children, aged from nine to eleven years, hailing from Bath, Radstock, Castle Cary, Bradford On Avon, Devizes and Wick. The production company also comprises twelve budding technicians – teenagers aged twelve to eighteen years from Bath and the surrounding area – working alongside the egg’s professional team behind-the-scenes to create a soundscape and props, as well as assisting with lighting, sound and stage management for the performances.
The Knock on the Door and This Is Our Silence each feature a seventeen-strong cast. Directed by Hannah Joss, both plays were written by Paul Dodgson working with the cast members.
Fathers, brothers, sons and lovers; labourers, lawyers, shopkeepers and writers – every man who fought in the war had his own story to tell. The Knock on the Door explores one soldier’s life – the life of Alfred Bradley from his birth up to his untimely death. An individual just like every other man who fought in the war, Alfred had his own unique story.
This Is Our Silence focuses on November 11th at 11am, and asks as everyone bows their head for two minutes to remember those who fought and lost their lives, what do you think about? During the development of this text, YPT members spent time exploring first-hand accounts of a variety of people involved in World War One. This Is Our Silence aims to reveal the people whose memories the two minute silence commemorates.
Hear Me features a cast of twenty-seven and Beyond Good and Evil has a cast of twenty-two. Both productions were devised by the young performers, working with director John East.
Beyond Good and Evil is inspired by the revolution and social upheaval that swept Europe from 1917. This brutal performance uses the philosophy of Nietzsche to tell a story of excess and decay, corruption and salvation.
Hear Me features an all-female cast and looks at the lives of women in the First World War, particularly those who challenged society’s expectations of how a woman should behave and conform – all at a time leading up to women being given the right to vote in 1918.
Director John East, said,
“These performances look at aspects of the War that interest the young cast members involved. The devising process has involved lots of research and provoked many questions as the young people discovered how events from 100 years ago have affected their lives today. Their enthusiasm, creativity and passion has shaped these pieces, and will resonate with audiences of all ages.”
Professional directors John East and Hannah Joss are both YPT alumni. Bath-based director John East is an Associate Artist at the egg theatre where his productions last year included Burned on the Water at the Roman Baths and The Laramie Project at the egg. As director of Just Enough Theatre Company, his previous productions include Wrecked at Wilton’s Music Hall, London; and The Two Noble Kinsmen at The Dell at the RSC, Bath’s Ustinov Studio and London’s Space Arts Centre. John also works as an artist with the charity 5x5x5=creativity, principally on their School Without Walls residency programme, bringing children’s learning into cultural venues across the city of Bath. Hannah Joss’s credits include Talking To Alice for The Old Vic’s New Voices, The Teenagers for Theatre Delicatessen, and That Moment for the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast/RADA. She also directs award-winning sketch comedy group Mixed Doubles, as heard on BBC Radio 4.
The Eleventh Hour: The Great War Project appears at the egg theatre from Thursday 13th November to Saturday 15th November. Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844, the egg on 01225 823 409 or visit www.theatreroyal.org.uk