In 2013 Age Exchange began The Children of the Great War, an HLF funded project which enabled Age Exchange to work across London on a series of open days collecting memories from children and grandchildren of people who had lived through the Great War.
This material was shared in a project with University of Oxford on the Europeana 1914-1918 website and featured on the project website - www.ChildrenOfTheGreatWar.org.uk.
PerformanceThere were also intergenerational projects across London with George Mitchell School in Leyton, St Matthews Academy in Lewisham and Plumstead Manor School in Woolwich.
The project culminated in a film installation and a theatre production at the Bridewell Theatre in London in August 2014. The theatre production included children from St Matthews Academy and Plumstead Manor School. The young people worked with older people with family stories and created an extraordinary piece of theatre. Age Exchange was extremely grateful to teachers and staff at both schools for their terrific support in making this possible.
The film Installation by artists Simon Purins and Ivan Riches and was premiered at The Bridewell Theatre on Wednesday 30 August and the theatre production was presented on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 August at The Bridewell Theatre to two full houses. The theatre performance was written and directed by David Savill and Malcolm Jones. Music was written and performed by Eliot Short and choreography was by Donna Ford. The lighting was designed by Mark Blagden and the performance was stage managed by Hannah Angliss.
There was a lot of positive feedback from the production of the audience who took time to send emails or write on social media sites.
"Our aim as an Academy is provide our children with an education that is better than they would receive in any other school...you have helped that become a reality for the group of children that you worked with. I look forward to the next chapter in our partnership."
Michael Barry, Principal St Matthews Academy, Lewisham
"The elders stood justly proud at the end, while the teenagers acted out their stories and devised movement sequences of power, imagery and strength, stood shoulder to shoulder alongside them; comrades in arms."
Pauline Flannery, Online Theatre Reviewer
“ ... it was such a honour to be there, and to see the fruits of your team’s ambitious and important project. It was a powerful and moving performance, and I really enjoyed seeing how you used the family stories, and archives to create an imaginative and creative “real life” drama."
"I thought it was beautiful in its honesty and simplicity. You collected some wonderful stories and very movingly told."
Andrew Alty, Creative Learning Manager, Wimbledon Theatre