So with the excitement of Valentine’s done and dusted for another year, what is one to do the next day? It’s almost like the day after Boxing Day. I always feel like the 27th December is a sad day, but then again I’m obsessed with Christmas so it just reminds me that I have a whole year to wait….

Okay, so the Sunday wasn’t quite that bad but still I really struggle to do things on a Sunday and cabin fever sets in about an hour after I’ve woken up. But not on post-Valentine’s-Sunday, oh no! As I wandered up to the new Beecroft with Papa to watch a play based on WW1 – “Remember Us”

Now recently due to the anniversary of WW1, Southend have had a few events organised to commemorate the lives of the people who were affected by the war in the local area and this play was exactly that, a remembrance to WW1.

It was a collaboration between Pinpoint Create and Southend Council (this is what the program tells me) with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund (good to see it being used for creative pieces). The piece was created to commemorate the lives of people in Southend during the The Great War and set in an abandoned music hall.

So once ushered into the lecture theatre, now I haven’t been in the lecture theatre for years and I had forgotten how small and intimate it was, but this worked perfectly for this type of performance, made you feel far more involved. It did mean you had to walk across the stage to your seats but that makes it even more exciting.

The stage was set as an abandoned music hall and before we knew it silence came across the audience and they begun. And it was really quite enjoyable, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised the costumes were spot on, and the actors use of space on stage in particular when changing costumes was brilliant – not once did it detract from the performance.

Southend WW1 Remember UsSouthend WW1 Remember Us

It took you on an informative story of the lives of the people in Southend, with added dramatic effect they entice you into feeling like you were in a music hall as war was announced. Now I know a fair bit about WW2 on a worldwide level however I know very little about The Great War, it is almost a lost war where soldiers fought in horrific conditions in the trenches and back home it was reasonably safe. But that would be wrong. Did you know that Zeppelins flew over Southend and dropped their bombs? Or that The Palace was turned into a medical hospital for the war wounded, with crowds of people waiting to cheer those wounded ‘home’? No, me neither but I do and that’s thanks to this play.

For a short piece of theatre it was fantastic, funny but not in a mocking way but also informative, I particularly liked the sketch on the Zeppelins and the reel of old photos shown on a screen behind the actors at the end was the icing on the cake. I love old photos; just something very romantic-esque about them, which could be the nostalgic feeling you always get when looking at old photos.

It was just a shame it wasn’t advertised better. I only found out about it through my dad who just happens to have his ear to the ground (nosey man who knows everyone in the creative community, well pretty much everyone locally). It’s something that should have been seen by more people. I’m sure the theatre was booked out for all the showings (it ran from 10-15th Feb) but I’m sure more people could have benefited from this performance. It has given me more knowledge than I previously had and an interest into local history in particular during those tough years and onwards.

So if you ever get a spare second take that time to hunt around the council website, as you might just find a little gem of an event like this one, or even check out www.eventbrite.co.uk which will also show you little gems – as well as keeping an eye on us lovely lot at Love Southend.

What’s On in Southend

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