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The Natural Theatre Company’s Youth Theatre has been awarded a prominent Heritage Lottery Fund grant to fund an exciting project celebrating Bath’s War Hospital in World War 1. The Spring Term group will be creating and performing in Roads to Recovery – an interactive street performance and historical takeover of Bath’s Queen Square during February Half Term 2017.
  
Mark Bishop, Participation Manager at the Naturals says, 

“We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this grant. It’s a unique and exciting opportunity for the young people of Bath to explore their local history and work with professional actors who are trained in historical interpretation. The stories and characters of that time are amazing and we can’t wait to start the project this month.”

During the weekly Youth Theatre sessions, participants will work with Bath Record Office and professional actors from the Natural Theatre Company to research stories of real soldiers returning from war, the nurses who treated them and the community who welcomed them home. Sources held by the Record Office have been used to gather research material and background information for the workshops. The characters developed during the workshops will be based on real people who lived in Bath or were patients or staff at the War Hospital – giving participants the chance to bring history to life.

In addition to the Youth Theatre Spring Term, sessions will also take place at Bath Riverside, Radstock and Peasedown St John youth clubs, a local Cadet Force and students from Hayesfield School. The project overall will be guided by a steering group of members from the Naturals’ Youth Theatre.

At the Roads to Recovery performance on Saturday 11th February, the group will wear authentic costumes and perform alongside professional actors in Queen Square, which will recreate the First World War field hospital in Bath. The performance will also mark the launch of a week-long exhibition at the Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution, which will include exhibits from two exhibitions; Art at the Heart’s Acts of Kindness and Corsham Commemorates Above and Beyond both celebrate the local community’s support for the recovery and rehabilitation of soldiers returning from the front line in World War 1.

Andy Burden, Director of the Natural Theatre Company says, 

‘This project will bring young members of the community together to explore their local history in an exciting and creative way, bringing history to life on the streets of Bath.’

11 – 16 year olds can get involved with the project by joining the Spring Term Youth Theatre, which meets every Wednesday evening during term time, from 6pm – 7.30pm in Widcombe, Bath. 

Some spaces are still available – further information is available at http://naturaltheatre.co.uk/yt/ or on 01225 469 131.