Theatre of hope
A group of injured Veterans are to perform in a series of epic outdoor performances this summer to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War …
This Is Not For You, part of 14–18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, pays moving tribute to Britain’s wounded war Veterans, men and women whose contributions to history often go unnoticed. It chronicles their fight for respect and remembrance, told with wry humour, with audio description and sign language as integral parts of the production. Through snapshots of three Armistice Days, audiences are taken on a journey that spans 100 years of history; this is a story of past and present sacrifices and a continual fight for respect, rights and remembrance. Through song, movement and physical theatre, the production explores the reality of returning from war that often juxtaposes with the vibrant celebrations of peace.
The production, directed by Jenny Sealey, written by Mike Kenny and performed by Members of Blesma, The Limbless Veterans, will be premiering in Woolwich as part of the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival on Armed Forces Day (30 June) and Sunday 1 July, alongside performances in Woolwich and Stockton on 2 and 3 August, respectively.
Among the Blesma cast performing are amputees, wheelchair users, and those who have visual impairments and brain injuries. Some have lost limbs to IED blasts, while others have been devastated by accidents. The injured Veterans have been especially trained for the piece by Graeae (pronounced grey eye), the UK’s flagship theatre company for D/deaf and disabled artists and the National Centre for Circus Arts.
Performer and Blesma Member Carole King, who had her leg amputated in 2006, says: ‘To be back in a troop of like-minded people, to grow and see where we started and to where we will end will give me back the confidence that I have lacked over that past two years. I can’t sit back any more, and what a way to say, “Hey I’m back and raring to go!”’
Find out more about This Is Not For You, and where to see it, at http://tinfy.org/For further information on Blesma, The Limbless Veterans, visit www.blesma.org and, for more about Graeae, go to www.graeae.org
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