Great War memories sought for Wimborne play

COLEHILL-based State of Play Arts and Wimborne’s Priest’s House Museum are looking for documentary material relating to soldiers, naval officers or aircraft personnel who left East Dorset to fight in the First World War and returned home alive, possibly wounded.

The community theatre company wants handed-down memories and stories about how families dealt with the aftermath of the war. These may be told through artefacts – medals, photographs, diaries, newspaper articles, letters  – as well as personal oral history testimonies.

The material may be used to form part of a new play which will be written and performed by State of Play later this year, the final part of a commission by Priest’s House Museum, as part of its commemoration of the Great War.

Dorset descendants who have already shared documentary materials for previous productions, found it a rewarding experience – Alan Wareham, descendant of Hubert Wareham, who died in the war, said: “The play The Gathering has really brought my Great Uncle Hubert’s story to life and it recognises and honours the great sacrifice that he and others made.”

The first production,: Tommy’s Sisters (a film, 2016), focused on four local women of different classes whose lives were changed by the war. The Gathering (spring 2016), focused on two East Dorset soldiers, Hubert Wareham and William Cutler, who lost their lives fighting, and the impact on people left behind.

Both plays are being presented as part of Wimborne History Festival on 21st July.

Pictured: Nurses and volunteers at the Red Cross Hospital in Wimborne during the First World War.