- Bill Mitchell, artistic director WildWorks Theatre
This dawn till dusk, continuous theatrical event was a unique collaboration between Wildworks and The Lost Gardens of Heligan in 2014. Community performers young and old, banner and bunting makers, brass players, singers, stewards, gardeners and motorbike enthusiasts joined Wildworks theatre makers and the Heligan team. We exchanged knowledge, skills, memories and a shared vision to create a truly spectacular day of remembrance on the 3rd of August 2014 supported by a 6000 strong audience. Together, we relived and retold the lives of brave Cornish men from the parishes of Mevagiseey, Gorran and St Ewe who went to war, and the families they left behind.
“Stunning and emotional. You made it personal, so important to get that across to our kids. Thank you.”
100 audience member
From the calling of names at the three war memorials in the stillness of sunrise to the arrival of a lugger and the festivities and anticipations at Mevagissey harbour, we travelled through the village alongside our boys and continued on to Heligan gardens. Performers and musicians held us captivated throughout the afternoon in an extraordinary world, 1914, set within a ‘living stage’ of sweeping fields, traditional practices and heart wrenching views. We watched the boys advance, cutting through our crowd and heading to the shadows in the valley below as a symphony of spoken memory, sound, performance and pyrotechnics created an all-encompassing experience, both panoramic and intimate.
“… it was at around half past three on the day of the performance that I finally, blood and guts, understood who my gardener was, then at the very end in the poppy field with my fellow spirits, I realised there was something very, very magical going on, which completely blew away my notions of what theatre should be.”
At the end of the day we stood entranced for over an hour, watching the lost men depart on their final journey, listening to their names being called in a silence only occasionally broken by families applauding the name of a great grandfather or uncle as a sign of affection and respect. An unforgettable day.