'Great War MK - From Conflict to Cosmopolis'
This collaborative project led by AHA-MK explores the impact of the First World War on the communities of Milton Keynes and examines their evolution from a time of conflict to that of cosmopolitan opportunities.
From Conflict to Cosmopolis will embrace the diversity of Milton Keynes' population, asking individuals to look back at what their families were experiencing 100 years ago.
Festive Road is proud to be a part of this project and will be developing an outdoor physical theatre show to be performed in the summer of 2015. From now until then, we will be encouraging the people of Milton Keynes to share the Great War stories from their families to help us create the characters in our show.
We will soon be running a 'Who Do You Think You Are MK' appeal, inviting all residents of Milton Keynes to choose a descendent from your family tree who lived through, or died during, the Great War. Residents from all cultural and social backgrounds will be welcome to propose family members and there will be access to family tree software and experts to support those of you who would like to participate.
The next step will be to record the full names of these family members together with a short sentence to describe them - who they are and what they did. They will then be sorted into categories illustrating all backgrounds, ages, occupations, cultures and social standings of those caught up in the war, thus allowing people to imagine the 'everydayness' of then and now and enabling people to draw connections and/or differences: working women, widows, school children, drivers, sweethearts, shop keepers, letter writers, horse handlers, messengers... A few descendents/relatives of MK people from each category will be chosen to be featured in our local newspapers building up to the final show.
While these stories are being featured, Festive Road will be devising and rehearsing an outdoor physical theatre show, inspired by some of the characters and their stories. The show will bring together the descendents of Milton Keynes using large theatrical structures, puppetry, dance, music and performance. We will be creating a tank to form the centrepiece of the show with which all the characters will interact. All of the collected names of Who Do You Think You Are MK will be incorporated into the show along with their descriptive tags; some will be represented as characters in the show while others will be printed onto the set or on projection.
The show will be performed during the summer of 2015 as part of AHA-MK's programme of exhibitions and performances with the Great War project. For more details, visit the project website and blog.