Local theatre group Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society will perform a play based on a crucial battle during the last days of the First World War.
At 0440 hours on 21 March 1918 the German army launched Kaiserschlacht, their last ditch attempt to win the war.
The opening bombardment forms the final moments of RC Sherriff’s play Journey’s End which RADS will be presenting at the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond with the opening performance on the 100th anniversary of what became known to the allies as The Second battle of the Somme.
The production forms part of the wider commemoration of life in Richmondshire at the time, Richmondshire Remembers.
Several organisations in the area, including The Green Howards Museum, the WAGS Military Wives Choir from Catterick, Richmond School, North Country Theatre, Reeth Band and Musicality among others, have come together to present a series of events throughout the year leading up to the Armistice in November.
Gregan Davis, the director of Journey’s End and coordinator of Richmondshire Remembers. said: “What started with an accident, my copy of the play falling on the floor as I unpacked after moving to Richmond three years ago, has just snowballed into a community project which everyone has embraced overwhelmingly.”
In the cast of Journey’s End is Matt Wightman, a member of Bravo 22 Company, The Royal British Legion’s recovery through the arts programme, a veteran with service in The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and resident in Catterick.
He was a member of the cast of Unspoken” presented by Bravo 22 Company at the Newcastle Theatre Royal on Remembrance Sunday last year.
He is also part of Veterans Woodcraft, an extension of the Phoenix House Recovery Centre on Catterick Garrison, and has made all the furniture’ in the dug-out setting of the play.
Matt said: “It has been an amazing experience and one which I have thoroughly enjoyed.
“I am looking forward to appearing on stage in a production again so soon.”
Also in the cast is Jasper Worrallo from the Richmond Theatre Royal Youth Theatre and who will be performing with them at the Edinburgh Festival later this year.
He is 2nd Lt Raleigh, the eager, naive youngster fresh out of school who has pulled strings to be posted to the company led by his old school acquaintance, Captain Stanhope.
“It’s very exciting to be a part of this amazing play,” he said.
Asked if Journey’s End was a depressing play, Davis responded: “Not at all.
“Sherriff wrote it as an homage to the men he served with in the East Surrey Regiment until he was invalided out of the war at Passchendaele in 1917.
“There is a lot of humour to be found in the way in which they all interact within the dug-out. The end may be tragic but the play celebrates the courage and fortitude of a group of ordinary men who find themselves in an extraordinary situation.”
The play runs from Wednesday 21 to Saturday 24 March with tickets available from The Georgian Theatre Royal Box Office on 01748 825252.
Click here to book.