Epic saga of Harrogate's new WW1 drama

Challenging production - 6:12s Michael Garside in the Harrogate Theatre companys new WW1 drama which launches next week.
Challenging production - 6:12s Michael Garside in the Harrogate Theatre companys new WW1 drama which launches next week.

As if writing your own play on the First World War to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice in 1918 or making it for a cast of just one wasn’t enough, critically-acclaimed Harrogate company 6:12 also opted to base it all on the real voices of the soldiers.

When this small but adventurous company began the process of devising Here The Dead Voices, which is premiered at Harrogate Theatre next week, they little realised how complicated it was going to be.
Co-director Frances Sellars said finding and sifting through the source material for the new drama had turned into an enormous task.

She said: “We began reading a vast range of texts – letters, stories and accounts from soldiers and others involved in the First World War.

“By February of this year we had selected the bits we wanted to use for the first draft.
“Then we began the tricky exercise of obtaining permission to use each extract.

“That was made more complicated by the fact not all the publishers held the original copyright.
“We had to track down and approach copyright holders in the UK, USA, France and, even, Jordan.
“By June when we began rehearsals, we got the final email from the great nephew of Mary Borden, an American nurse and novelist who served in a French army hospital throughout the war.”

The end result should be well worth it for audiences when the curtain rises for the first time on Here The Dead Voices on October 3 to October 6.

Awaiting is a new challenge for 6:12’s ambitious founder, director and actor Michael Garside as he takes on more than 30 separate roles in Harrogate Theatre studio!

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