The play is a semi-biographical WW1 drama featuring extracts from genuine letters sent home to my great grandfather Ted Hughes by his brother Fred during the war. It follows Fred’s journey as he makes the transition from the coal mine to the front line. Desperate for adventure and hopeful for a greater destiny, he will jump at any opportunity that presents itself. So when Great Britain declares war on Germany in 1914, naïve colliery horse driver Fred will get his adventure, but at what cost?
Often, when we think of WW1, we think of famous battles, going ‘over the top’, and armistice. But how often do we hear about the Territorial Force or Pioneer battalions? Would you even be able to define them? This play aims to put a spotlight on those unsung heroes through my great, great Uncle’s experiences as a part of them both. Much of the dialogue is taken verbatim from the letter extracts, which will invite you to reflect as well as entertain you. You can expect a minimal and versatile set, wartime song and a Private on a mission!
I became inspired to create this play after stumbling across genuine WW1 letter extracts written by Fred in a book published by the National Trust called The Country house at War. The heroism I encountered in them filled me with pride. The play is a way of keeping my great, great uncle Fred’s memory alive where the phrase “Lest we forget” becomes a powerful message underscoring the play. The sad reality is the impact war still has on the world today and potentially could do for a long time to come.