A critically acclaimed multimedia production featuring renowned Scots performers including Barbara Dickson and Siobhan Miller will visit the Aros Centre on Friday 31 August as part of a commemorative tour of Scotland to mark the centenary of World War One.
Forming part of Scotland’s Armistice centenary programme, Far, Far From Ypres uses the songs of the trenches to tell the story of the Scottish war effort and will visit ten venues across the country throughout the centenary of the final hundred days of the war. The tour is being delivered by WW100 Scotland in partnership with Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland.
The show was devised, written and produced by Ian McCalman of folk group The McCalmans to highlight the unique insight the songs offer into the life of a soldier. It shares the hope, suffering, endurance and fear associated with the war through the eyes of fictional, prototypical soldier, Jimmy MacDonald. Like many young men, Jimmy is full of enthusiasm and joins up right away, however, when he is sent to the Flanders trenches he begins to experience the true horrors of war.
Ian McCalman commented: “During the war, soldiers sang together to bond and alleviate fear, sharing songs from contemporary music halls as well as creating their own. However, looking back on the music of the war today, we can see how attitudes towards the conflict changed over its course. From the early, jingoistic songs that promoted recruitment and betrayed an innocence about the reality of war, through to the resignation, black humour and resentment present in the later songs, the progression reflects the bitterness which grew among troops as they became disenchanted.
“The songs provide powerful context to key events in an era very different from our own, and with Far, Far From Ypres, we have harnessed their power and accessibility to bring the story of the war to our audience in an engaging, multimedia production that educates and lingers. The entire cast is excited and honoured to be bringing the production to communities across the country as part of the WW100 Scotland commemorative programme, and we look forward to sharing the story of Jimmy McDonald - representing so many young soldiers of the war - with thousands.”
The cast of 26 performers, including Scottish folk scene favourites such as Barbara Dickson, Siobhan Miller, Dick Gaughan, Ian McCalman, Iain Anderson, Professor Gary West, Stephen Quigg and Ian Bruce, will also visit Selkirk, Aberdeen, Oban, Ullapool, Dundee, Stirling, Inverness, Dumfries and Edinburgh, all of which were closely associated with Scottish regiments and therefore at the heart of recruitment during the war. The tour will come to a close with a performance at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh on Armistice Day.
The show will also incorporate stories about local men at each performance, which are being sourced as part of a community engagement project led by Legion Scotland. Working with the likes of schools, youth groups and history societies, the veterans charity is helping research the local area’s contribution to the war in order that these stories might be preserved and passed down to future generations.
The Portree performance of Far, Far From Ypres will take place at the Aros Centre on Friday 31 August at 7:30pm. Tickets cost £15 (£10 concession). For more information and to book visit http://aroscommunitytheatre.co.uk/events/far-far-from-ypres or call 01478 613 750.