The Gathering, Wimborne Minster

TONY and Gill Horitz, founders of the Wimborne-based State of Play, devised The Gathering from letters collected from local families.

Performed to a packed audience in the north transept of Wimborne Minster, after its premiere at Holtwood Church earlier in the year, it tells the stories of two Dorset soldiers who died in the conflict.  Will Cutler married Tillie Frampton in Holtwood Church in 1915. Hubert Wareham, who joined the Coldstream Guards in his grandfather’s footsteps, was a member of the choir of Wimborne Minster.  The performance of The Gathering ended with The Last Post, played by his great grand nephew Andrew Wareham.

The centenary of the First World War has discovered family stories from all over the country, cherished anecdotes and memories that were subsumed in the enormity of the conflict and its legacy. These two stories have a particular poig­nancy in their home setting, where generations of family members continue to live and work.

The simple and effective performances, by Jake Baker, Bryony Reynolds, Urquhart and Kevin Burke, interspersed with songs from the period, underline the eternal dichotomy of the glory and the pointlessness of war.

Contemporary stills are projected to help the audience follow the “progress” of the war, with one promised Big Push following another as thousands of men died.

The Gathering is the second part of a trio of works commissioned by Priest’s House Museum as part of its commemorative First World War project. The first was a film, and the third, to be seen in November, will focus on those who returned injured from the Great War and how they were treated by their families, their community and society at large.

Look out for further performances of The Gathering, and if you have any letters, memorabilia or other items which might relate to the forthcoming third show, contact the company or the Priest’s House Museum.


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