Weymouth theatre group to stage play to tie in with Great War anniversary

Dorset Echo: PASSIONATE:  Composer Tim Laycock PASSIONATE: Composer Tim Laycock

A THEATRE group is going onto the battlefield for its next production to tie in with the anniversary of the First World War.

Weymouth-based AsOne Theatre has secured funding to bring its new play to the stage and into communities.

Passion – Line of Departure interweaves five stories of Dorset soldiers and their families 100 years apart.

From a present day family affected by the conflict in Afghanistan to the horror of trench warfare, the play reveals how the ravages of war ripple down the generations.

The autumn production coincides with the Royal British Legion’s Centenary Poppy Appeal.

Funding from different organisations including Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund and West Dorset District Council will help the group to conduct research, make audio recordings, assemble a team to bring it to life, support performances in local schools and community venues, and run workshops for students.

Recordings made as part of the project featuring descendants of First World War soldiers will be given to the Dorset History Centre.

While the actors will not be cast until July, the main production team has been appointed.

Playwright Stephanie Dale, whose credits include Dorchester Community Play, has been commissioned to pen the production.

Joining her as composer is Dorset folk musician and storyteller Tim Laycock, while directing duties are in the hands of BBC producer Peter Leslie Wild. Annette Sumption will be set and costume designer.

AsOne’s Artistic Director and Producer Jane McKell said: “We are very excited.

“In these tough economic times securing grant funding – especially from the Arts Council England – is ever more difficult and so we see this as a real endorsement of the creative team and recognition of our work as a company.

“I would like to thank all of the production team, for their hard work in securing this important funding which will allow us to bring new, exciting and innovative theatre to the regions.”

The play will debut at Dorchester Corn Exchange on October 8 after which it can be seen at other local venues before going on tour.

Schools and colleges interested in working with AsOne on education workshops or for Q&A sessions for students can contact 01305 835541.

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