It can’t have escaped your attention that 2014 marks a centenary of the start of The Great War. Televison schedules have been packed with programming either glorifying or bringing into sharp focus one of the great stains on human history, and arts programmers have similarly taken notice – filling theatre and art centre schedules with war stories. Often artistic perspectives on the war tend to focus on personal stories – not surprising, given the dearth of prose and poetry to swell from the trenches – and this new show from the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the Imperial War Museum North is no exception. The production centres around the war-time letters of real life Salford veteran Arthur Burke, which are brought to life by actors and singers. These letters recount Burke’s experiences in Europe as a soldier – and further colour is given to his tales through the testimonials of modern day veterans, all backed by an original score from the BBC Phil and Salford Symphony Orchestra. Staging this at the IWM North is a smart move, with Burke’s real letters mere metres away from the theatre, in the exhibition space. With the first British field gun used in the conflict playing a central role in th performance, you might just find yourself down there in the mud with him.

Fri 17 – Sat 18 Oct, IWM North, The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, M17 1TZ, 3pm & 8pm, £15,

Fri 17 Oct - Sat 18 Oct
Jon Whiteley
Published on:
Thu 16 Oct 2014