When The Men Marched Away

When The Men Marched Away

Published at 6:26pm 24th March 2018. (Updated at 6:34pm 24th March 2018)

A story of Dorchester during WW1 - Presented by St Osmund's Middle School.

To summarise When The Men Marched Away as a "school play" would be to massively understate both its scale and story. It would also be scandalously inaccurate. Put aside the idea of this as a "school play" and think of it as a fully fledged community production that aims to tell a story that we are in danger of forgetting. This is a timely reminder that the younger generations not only need to be reminded of our history but that contrary to popular opinion, they are ready to embrace it wholly.

When The Men Marched Away tells the story of Dorchester during WW1 by bringing characters based on real people who were living at the time, to the stage. It offers a fascinating glimpse into the county town but perhaps even more surprising is that its main cast members are children of middle school age. Don't let that fool you though. They have invested themselves fully into research of each and every character with the aim being to tell the story as well as they can. 

The cast list alone fills an A4 page of the beautifully published programme (which you absolutely must buy on the night) and even Alistair Chisholm puts in an appearance, funnily enough as the Town Crier. Browsing through the programme you will see just how many of these roles are played by the children from St Osmund's. That in itself is all well and good but theres an unexpected twist to the back story here. The research behind this project has been in itself an entire school project!

It all started with a trip to The Keep Military Musesum where the children from St Osmund's started to peice together the very beginning of what would turn out to be a much bigger picture.

I sat down with some of the children responsible for bringing the characters to life on stage and asked them to explain more about the play.

Caroline Pugh and Julie Lawrence from St Osmund's explained more about the way World War 1 changed the county town of Dorchester.