Testimonial of “Over By Christmas” by Sue Adeney, Education Officer at Worcester Cathedral
From the wraggle-taggle of disparate school children not quite knowing why they were in a cathedral on World war 1 focussed day – the scene quickly changed to order, obedience, discipline, -and terror, tension and fear as they grouped in two armies fighting the unknown enemy. Scene Change Arts have the gift of immersing their participants quickly into role, and for their newest project Over By Christmas they did this magnificently. No child could fail to be caught up in the emotions of the trenches.
From the sprawling dead Tommy rises and takes everyone back to the family , giving name and life to the mere statistics .Then pupils explored the history facts and choreographed their own vignettes -excitement of recruitment, the siding in the central powers, the objectors etc. Then onto the Christmas truce where the football match brought a light touch of humour before a return to trench warfare.
Being based in the cathedral gave the students the chance to see the memorials to all war, and to see names, like their own families, to humanise the experience.
SCA actors gave the children a really imaginative opportunity to learn and understand as well as question the many ambiguities of war . The respectful silence as the trumpet played out the last post was testament to how much they had entered into the story, and the facts.