Project Description

A night of performance inspired by the writings of soldiers.

Trench Stories was a collaboration between Bounce Theatre & Anstee Bridge. It involved twenty four young people at risk of becoming NEET due to mental, social or emotional health issues.

Over six months they worked with artists to research and uncover some of the writing, poetry and musical hall style entertainment that bonded soldiers, families and communities during the war time. This was translated into a performance Trench Stories, devised with the young people. Each was able to bring their research together into an evening of performance that mirrored some of the style of musical hall entertainment with short scenes, songs and stories.

Accompanying this was a visual arts exhibit created by the young people.

Through the project, the young people were able to discover skills and talents they hadn’t realised within themselves. One young person started to write spoken word poetry in response to his learning. He went on to win a competition at the Donmar Warehouse writing in response to his feelings about the general election. Another young person spoke in public for the first time. Another used his poem to help him secure a place in college.

The performance was a catalyst for the young people to develop confidence through the act of research and through sharing their learning. For the first time in Anstee Bridge’s history all of the students gave up an evening to rehearse the work before showcasing it in the community. They also worked with community members, some of whom became part of the performance.

Trench Stories has cemented a creative partnership between Bounce & Anstee, having led to the development of two more heritage lottery funded projects.

Made possible thanks to funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund