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Home Front - Front Line

Part One of The End of Reason 1914-18 - A five year Theatre in Education project for Key Stages 2, 3, 4 & 5

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori by Wilfred Owen - 8 October 1917

Big Brum Theatre in Education Company is pleased to announce a major new programme of work focused around the centenary of World War One. Using cutting edge participatory theatre & drama, this ambitious five year project will explore aspects of the conflict from the centenary of its outbreak to the armistice.

Part One of the project is called Home Front - Front Line and in 2014 this new Theatre in Education programme will be touring into primary schools & secondary schools in the summer term of 2014.

Part One. England, August 1914. A summer afternoon. Percy is digging a drainage ditch on the estate of his employer Mr Whitelaw. He struggles to make conversation with an older man who is a veteran of colonial conflicts. Percy has joined up with his friends and has just received his official papers. He has never seen the sea, but looks forward to going to France. He asks the man what it's like to fight for your country. The man does not reply.

Part Two. France, November 1914. Night time. Mud and rain. A trench system on the front line. Percy is still digging. His spade is his constant companion. A Corporal relieves Percy of his labour. Sick of sitting and waiting his Corporal taunts the German sniper that he knows is waiting to pick them off. The Corporal tells Percy how he'd like to be on a summer holiday. Later the Corporal is killed by a mortar round.

Part Three. France, December 1914. Daytime. The aftermath of an attack on the British lines. Percy sits in a trench with a mortally wounded German soldier. Percy is able to explain this suffering to his enemy as he lies dying. The German soldier has labourers' hands shaped by digging the land. They are both of common stock but on opposite sides. Percy raises his gun...

Big Brum uses drama to enable young people to make sense of their lives; they will, therefore, explore how their own society has developed from 1914 and how they place themselves in this world. Perhaps more than anyone, young people need a meaningful understanding of a period that ultimately triggered the end of empire and the vast movement of people across the globe. The repercussions of this are intrinsically bound up with our collective social and cultural identity in 2014; not only where we have come from but where we are going.

World class theatre will be combined with workshops utilising Big Brum's well established model of theatre in education pedagogy, using collaborative and participatory methods to deliver a holistic artistic and learning experience that improves higher order thinking and enquiry skills. The programme will run for two hours, with the moments of drama and the interactive workshop elements woven together. A meaningful and evocative set will accompany the tour, bringing a powerful theatre presence right into your school.

For primary schools, Home Front - Front Line will provide a stimulus for work within the curriculum and will help children to develop their creative thinking through expertly facilitated enquiry and discussion, encouraging pupils to share opinions, explain views and make choices.

For secondary schools, Home Front - Front Line will have broad curricular appeal to teachers of Citizenship, English, Drama, History, PSHE and RE, raising issues and asking deep questions about World War One and the massive impact on families, society and the ruling orders.

Tom Wise, Classroom Teacher of Drama, Hillcrest School and Community College:
"Big Brum produce consistently thought provoking theatre that encourages participants to question the world and their role within it. The Centenary of World War One provides a time in which to question how conflict shapes the human experience; with children ideally placed at the centre of such a question."

Sue Penhallow, Deputy Head Teacher, Fairway Primary School:
"Big Brum always provide powerful theatre that does not shy away from things that are difficult, and as a result their work always results in powerful outcomes for all pupils; in terms of their personal and emotional development and their spoken and written language... Big Brum's way of working is ideally suited to powerful subject material of this kind: an anniversary which still resonates with children and their communities today."

We would like to invite schools, colleges and other education settings to talk with us about this powerful new programme of work. For an informal discussion or to arrange a meeting, please contact Matt Hinks the Education Partnership Worker at Big Brum on 0121 464 4604 or email:


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Supported by Arts Council England