Poignant play that marks centenary

Northumberland Theatre Company production of 'COUNTRY VOICES 'by Stewart Howson'Directed by Gillian Hambledon
Northumberland Theatre Company production of 'COUNTRY VOICES 'by Stewart Howson'Directed by Gillian Hambledon

A poignant dramatisation of life on the front line during the First World War is to premiere at Alnwick.

Notes from the Front is the latest offering from Northumberland Theatre Company (NTC), and ties in with the centenary of the Great War.

Written and performed by David Telfer, it comprises contemporary testimony, poetry and song and is a tribute to his great grandfather who fell at Gallipoli on August 8, 1915.

David approached NTC to see if the company would be interested in producing a piece for the centenary and the project was born from there.

Gillian Hambleton, director of NTC, said: “David has always been incredibly interested in how his great grandfather fell but also in the First World War as a whole topic and he incredibly immersed himself in it.”

NTC has been able to produce the performance, which is also part of a schools project, thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund through its First World War: then and now programme.

Teaming up with David, from The Forlorn Hope Theatre Company, the collaboration project will engage more than 1,600 young people and audience members throughout the North East through performances, schools workshops and an exhibition.

“It’s terrific that we have been approached for this,” Gillian added. “I know there are an awful lot of shows out there that seem to have jumped on the bandwagon of the First World War so to speak.

“But this coming from David Telfer and he is so passionate about it all and has a personal connection. He wants to be there on the anniversary of his great grandfather’s death in 2015.

“Thew whole piece is about what it felt like to be a soldier and having to do these things. Not solely based on the First World War but what every soldier has to take on.

“But because it is so personal I feel privileged to be involved in directing it. David’s passion for it will be conveyed to the audience and I think it will be very moving. It drums up so much feeling but David also manages to put in quite a lot of humour, otherwise he wouldn’t be able to get through it. You have to find something to laugh about, so it isn’t just going to be a dark piece but there will obviously be some darks parts to it.”

Notes from the Front takes place at Alnwick Playhouse, in the NTC Studio, on Friday, October 24, at 7.30pm. Tickets £8, £7 concession. For more, visit the website.