You may remember last July a group of dusty-clothed tommies walking down the main streets of your towns and cities with guns over their shoulders in absolute silence. It was part of the 14–18 NOW series of events commemorating the First World War.
In all, 30 million people saw small regiments of soldiers transported from 100 years ago walking through their towns and cities. But how did this once-in-a-lifetime live art project come into being?
A new exhibition at Northern Stage, presented by 14–18 NOW and the National Theatre, tells the story behind the event, which was created by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller in collaboration with Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre.
The exhibition includes the memories of the 1,400 volunteers who were kitted out in their military finest, and those who were tasked with coralling them into the centre of our urban areas. It also features stirring images of the volunteers from across the UK and BBC documentary footage charting the making of the project.
It’s a behind-the-scenes look at a haunting memorial to the Great War. ‘It was an incredible project to be involved in,’ says Lorne Campbell, Artistic Director of Northern Stage – ‘not only in bringing together a large group of participants from all walks of life to mark one of the great tragedies of the First World War, but in the enormous impact it had on audiences across the North East.’
The exhibition runs from 3–16 March at Northern Stage; entry is free.