Bodmin is set to be at the heart of Cornwall’s First World War commemorations in 2018 thanks to an exciting project just announced, which will connect people with Cornwall’s First World War story and involve the local and wider community.
The Trench at Bodmin sees Cornwall’s Regimental Museum working in partnership with acclaimed Cornish theatre company Collective Arts, known for their creation of large scale, outdoor, epic theatrical experiences.
Having successfully secured funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and FEAST, the project also sees a collaboration with Bodmin & Wenford Steam Railway and students from Bodmin College, who will be working alongside community and professional actors to bring the event to life.
A year of research, writing, development and rehearsal will culminate in a run of performances in June and July 2018. Audiences will follow in the footsteps of men from Bodmin who fought in the war, specifically the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, enlisting at The Keep, home of the Regimental Museum, before being transported by steam train from Bodmin General off to the trenches on the Lanhydrock Estate. On returning back to the Regimental Museum audiences will find out their fate, visiting the Museum's new exhibition that details their past.
Jason Squibb, Collective Arts, said “After the success of the Levant commemorations in 2016 we wanted to ramp this up further the dramatic scale by working with Cornwall’s Regimental Museum. This was the actual place where these men would have enlisted, then travelled from Bodmin General just across the road for what perhaps might have been their last sight of Bodmin and home. That in itself makes it hugely poignant, but also exciting to be working with several community groups from across Bodmin to tell these stories. We have also commissioned four different plays that happen separately to the main trench experience, that focus on various aspects of Bodmin during the First World War, so there is a great deal of opportunity for the local community to get involved whether with the research or performances.”
Mary Godwin, Director of Cornwall’s Regimental Museum, said “This project is part of the museum’s commitment to bring Bodmin’s superb military heritage to life for the local community and visitors alike. We hope that it will make a big contribution to Cornwall’s First World War commemorations and to the new spirit of collaboration and ambition for the town that’s really starting to take off.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about the project, including registering their interest in tickets, geang involved in the researching First World War soldiers or in taking part in the performance, should click