The Gathering - messages from the Great War
Summary: Documentary theatre at Holtwood Methodist Church
A new play brings to life stories of East Dorset soldiers in the First World War.
An original performance of documentary theatre, The Gathering - Messages from the Great War, will take place on Sunday 11 February at 7.30pm at Holtwood Methodist Church. The production by State of Play Arts has been commissioned by the Priest’s House Museum as part of its The One Hundred Year Heritage of the First World War for Wimborne and East Dorset project.
The play is a commemoration of the lives of two local soldiers, Will Cutler and Hubert Wareham, who died during the First World War, and two people closely involved in their lives: Will’s wife, Tillie, and the vicar of Wimborne Minster, Reverend James Fletcher.
The first performance takes place at Holtwood Methodist Chapel where Will married Tillie Frampton in 1913 and further performances are planned as part of the Wimborne History Festival in July.
Liz Frampton, Tillie’s granddaughter, who lives in the same village in which her grandparents once lived, said: “I'm excited that this performance will give me a tiny glimpse of my grandparents, Will and Tillie, whose life I was not privileged to share.”
Visitors to the Priest’s House Museum will be familiar with Hubert Wareham, whose portrait, resplendent in medals for school achievement, is displayed in the schoolroom.
Alan Wareham, Hubert’s great nephew, said: “We are looking forward to attending the play as it has really brought my Great Uncle Hubert’s story to life and it recognises and honours the great sacrifice that he and others made.”
Writers Gill Horitz and Tony Horitz, said: “The play is based on letters, photographs and stories provided by family members, local historians and museum archives. Using them as stimuli, we have dramatised the voices and thoughts of these four people from these remaining fragments of their lives.”
James Webb from the Priest’s House Museum said: “As part of the project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, volunteers are undertaking research into the people of East Dorset affected by the conflict on the home front and the front line. Family members have come forward with archives and stories, which have proved invaluable. The use of theatre has the ability to make these stories accessible to new audiences.”
The production will be enhanced by projected images, created by Alastair Nisbet of ScreenPLAY, and performances by four Dorset-based professional actors Kevin Burke, Briony Reynolds, Joe Urquhart and Jake Baker.
Tickets cost £6/£4, with the play suitable for 12 year olds and over. Tickets can be purchased from Wimborne Tourist Information Centre, tel: 01202 886116 (booking is essential).
Venue: Holtwood Methodist Church, Holtwood, Dorset BH21 7DT.
For more information on the Priest’s House Museum, visit: www.priest-house.co.uk