One recurring theme of my work has been Commemoration and war. Over the course of the past few years I’ve been commissioned to write for anniversaries of wars starting and finishing. Sometimes this has involved interviewing community members who remember such things as the effects of World War II on the neighbourhoods in which they still live. I’ve been honoured to hear vivid first-hand tales of the hardships and the community spirit that prevailed. Stories have included: fire watching; seeing the Liverpool Blitz light up the sky; being a POW in 1945, and more… More recently, the outbreak of the Great War has been in the forefront of my work.

Research questions have included:

  • How might personal memory and family narratives be dramatized for cultural memory?
  • What is the impact of site in commemoration?
  • How can historical detail be made to resonate in the complex conditions of outdoor performance contexts?

Playscripts and installations have included:

Remember Me, 2015
A portable audio-visual installation projecting animations of original photography from World War I for one-to-one audiences
Concept, set, animations by Helen Newall; sound by Karen Lauke
2015: Liverpool, Chester, Formby, Arts Centre, Ormskirk, 2016: Liverpool Bluecoat Chambers, Ansdell Library, Lytham St Anne’s
Read more about Remember Me

Your Country Needs You!, 2015
Playscript. Book: Helen Newall; music Matt Baker
Street theatre based on local Warrington people involved in WW1 in 1915
Theatre in the Quarter. Dir. Matt Baker, 19 September 2015
Commissioned and Funded by: Warrington Borough Council and Warrington Culture

Preston Remembers, 2015
Playscript, production. Book: Helen Newall; music Matt Baker
Street theatre based on local Preston people involved in WW1
Theatre in the Quarter. Dir. Matt Baker
Commissioned and funded by: Preston Remembers

Silent Night, 2008, 2014
Play based on Cheshire Regiment in the Christmas Truce, 1914
Theatre in the Quarter, NW Tour
Funded: Arts Council England; Cheshire Rural Touring
2008, dir. Russ Tunney; music: Matt Baker
2014, dir. Emma Lucia; music, Matt Baker

Over By Christmas, 2014
Play: outdoor, site-generic community reminiscence on railway stations
Book: Helen Newall; music Matt Baker
Theatre in the Quarter. Dir. Helen Newall & Matt Baker
Performed on 40 railway stations over the North-West, and Piccadilly Station, Manchester, St Pancras International, London.
Audiences: 20,000
Funded: Arts Council; Rail Consortia
Award: Cheshire West Community and Voluntary Arts Award, Performing Arts Category, 2015
Award: WW1 Commemoration Special Award, ACORP National Community Rail Awards, 2015
Nominated: Marketing Cheshire Annual Awards, Tourism Experience or Event of the Year
ACoRP Award
Chester Chronicle Review
Vimeo mini-documentary

Honour, 2014
A large-scale multimedia outdoor event. Play sequences by Helen Newall
Commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of WW1
Quays Culture, Salford Quays. Dir. Craig Morris
Funded: Arts Council England; AGMA; The Quays; MediaCityUK
Quays Culture past projects

Home For Christmas, 2009
Play: community reminiscence + local history project, WWII
Book & lyrics by Helen Newall, music: Matt Baker
Theatre in the Quarter, Dir. Russ Tunney
NW Tour.
Funded: Arts Council England; Cheshire Rural Touring

Another Sun (War Trilogy part III), 2007
Play by Helen Newall & Russ Tunney
Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, dir. Russ Tunney; music: Matt Baker
National Tour
Funded by: Arts Council England, Hampshire County Council, University of Southampton, Southampton City Council.

Some Sunny Day, 2005
Play: community reminiscence + local history project, WWII
Book & lyrics by Helen Newall, music: Matt Baker
Theatre in the Quarter, Youth Theatre, Guild Hall, Chester
Dir. Ally Cutler
Funded: Arts Council England, Chester City Council

Shoah (War Trilogy part II), 2005
Play by Helen Newall & Russ Tunney
Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, dir. Russ Tunney; music: Matt Baker
National tour.
Funded: Arts Council England, Hampshire County Council, University of Southampton, Southampton City Council.

Anthem For Doomed Youth (War Trilogy part I), 2004
Play.
Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, dir. Russ Tunney; music: Matt Baker
National tour
Funded: Arts Council England, Hampshire County Council, University of Southampton, Southampton City Council.

 

 

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