World War 1 Centenary: A History From Below

World War 1 Centenary: A History From Below

20th November 2018

This event has been cancelled- if you are a ticket holder please contact our box office on 01206 500900

November is the centenary of the end of World War 1. In its wake, join local community radio presenter Bryn Griffiths, actress Madeline Smith and historian Bill Lawrance. With local history, poems, film clips and reflections, plus contemporary and historic music from local musicians and singers, we will observe a humanitarian catastrophe of such global and epic scale, whose impact still resonates in our community, one hundred years later.

There will be many official commemorations, but this one will be different. This is a history from below, which gives voice to the people who we do not always hear. Why did this battle in Europe mean so much for Colchester? And what were the consequences for civilians, combatants and those who challenged the war? How did a community bear the wounds and scars that lasted way beyond that Armistice in November 1918?

On this anniversary we will hear from a wide range of voices from whom we can still learn today. The point of history is to learn and to never forget.

We will remember them.

If the participants make a surplus it will all be donated to the North Essex Veterans Mental Health Network for more information visit

Bryn Griffiths will compere the show, and has worked with Bill to curate the event. Bryn hosted the Colchester Arts Centre England World Cup evening on 10 June. He has presented shows on Colne Radio, our local community radio station.

Madeline Smith is a professional actor. She first worked for Hammer Film Productions in Taste the Blood of Dracula in 1969. Among her other film appearances, she played opposite Ava Gardner in Tam-Lin, Peter Cushing in The Vampire Lovers, Diana Dors in The Amazing Mr Blunden, Frankie Howard in Up Pompeii, and Vincent Price in Theatre of Blood. In 1973 she played the Bond girl Miss Caruso in Live and Let Die, the first James Bond film starring Roger Moore. She has also appeared in Carry On films.

Her television credits include Doctor at Large, The Two Ronnies, Steptoe and Son, and many more. She has made many stage appearances, notably acting opposite Alec Guinness in the original West End production of Alan Bennett's Habeas Corpus, and she spent two years playing the female lead in Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap at the St Martin's Theatre in London’s West End.

Madeline recently appeared in a question and answer session at the Colchester Arts Centre that explored her film work with the Hammer Film studios. She is a keen historian and recently visited the Word War 1 battlefields, including the Ypres Salient in Belgium and the Somme in northern France.

After studying History and Landscape Archaeology at Cambridge University, Bill Lawrance has spent over 30 years as Head of History at secondary schools around East Anglia. He has led many World War 1 Battlefield tours to the Western Front for Colchester students, taking an estimated 3000 teenagers so far over the last seventeen years. He is also a presenter on local community radio.

In addition we’ve recruited another Colchester local cultural anthropologist Charlie Davison to be our musical director on the night.

Tickets £8/£5 concessions.
Doors open 7.30 pm, show starts 8pm

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