Youth Theatre Recalls WWII In Nottingham

By Chris Breese | 28 April 2005
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shows a teenage girl wearing a black helmet talking to another young actor

© Chris Breese/24 Hour Museum.

Shoppers at the Broadmarsh Centre in Nottingham were taken back in time by a group of young actors on Saturday April 23 as they brought World War II to life in a collection of short dramas.

The Nottingham Arts Theatre Youth Group, a band of talented actors aged 11-18, performed the 20-minute snippets in authentic costumes amid surprised members of the public as part of the ongoing Their Past Your Future exhibition, celebrating the 60th anniversary of VE day.

The performance, entitled ‘Your Country Needs You!’ included plot lines dealing with land army girls and the experiences of soldiers on the front line that were all too real some members of the audience.

shows a groups of young female actors wearing World War Two home front gear

© Chris Breese/24 Hour Museum.

18-year-old Lauren Knifton, from Sherwood, played the part of a young evacuee sent to the country during the war. She revealed: “There was an elderly man in a wheelchair watching one of the performances and I think it brought back a few war memories because at the end there was a tear in his eye.”

The performers had spent four weeks preparing for the production and had no problem acting in front of a less captive audience than they are used to. Marie Vickers, a producer of the event, said: “We’ve had a large number of people involved in putting it together and we thought a way to just keep passers-by interested would be to have a lot going on at once.”

The team performed the sets on the hour for five hours and attracted an audience of young and old alike. Andrew Siddons, 16, a pupil at Westbridgeford School in Nottingham played the part of Major Darcy, who is shot and injured on the front line.

shows a group of young actors acting out a scene in a shopping centre wearing World War Two period clothing

© Chris Breese/24 Hour Museum.

Andrew said: “The most enjoyable thing about doing it is when you are having fun can tell that the audience are enjoying it and having fun too.”

The group were showcasing the debut performance of the theatre company of Renaissance, the East Midlands Museums development project.

For more information on Their Past Your Future contact the Broadmarsh Centre on 0115 840 4554 or log on to

Shows the Renaissance in the Regions logo.

Chris Breese is the 24 Hour Museum Renaissance student journalist for the East Midlands region. Renaissance is the groundbreaking initiative to transform England's regional museums, led by MLA, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

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