Women of World War One is a unique production: a portrait of women’s lives during WW1, their stories told in their own words, with live music by female composers of the era, performed to a beautiful film of slow moving images.
A collaboration between Musicians South West – a collective of chamber musicians whose aim is to attract new audiences to live music events through innovative programming – and Petra Schofield of Magic Penny Productions, who specialise in commemorative multimedia events, Women of World War One is funded by the Arts Council, Sperring Trust and several local authorities, and is currently touring the South West to enthusiastic reviews.
Women of all ages and backgrounds tell their experiences of living through the dramatic events of World War One. Their varied stories, drawn from letters, diaries, poems and autobiographies, and narrated by Petra Schofield and Barbara Ingledew, are brought to life with music for piano and strings written by female composers, performed by Somerset-based Trio Paradis – Jacquelyn Bevan (piano), Jamie Hughes (violin) and Cressida Nash (cello).
“In the course of researching the script and music I discovered many local connections. For example, Adela Maddison was a regular performer at the ‘Glastonbury Festivals’ of the day, composing songs to Indian poems and other exotic lyrics,” says Jacquelyn Bevan. “Our Director/Scriptwriter, Petra Schofield, researched stories from Frome wartime newspapers with the help of Frome Museum, and discovered a fascinating account of ‘egg collection’ – the eggs were sent to soldiers at the Front. The story of Elsie Hillier, who lived in Haydon, also made it into the local paper when she wore her brother’s trousers to make it easier to work on the farm.”
There are moments of loss and sadness, but also of humour and tremendous energy, matched by rarely performed but exquisitely beautiful music, and simultaneously portrayed in images in the specially commissioned film, by award-winning filmmakers Liberty Smith and Polly Nash – all of which combine to make Women of World War One a performance to remember.
On Saturday, 18th October at 7.30pm, Women of World War One can be seen at St Swithin’s Church, Bath. Tickets £10 / £7.50 (under-16’s free) are available from Bath Box Office, tel 01225 463362, or visit www.musicianssouthwest.com for a full list of venues and dates.