“The pity is in the poetry.” The words of Wilfred Owen before his untimely death on the battlefields of World War One, just days before the Great War ended, epitomise the emotional effect that the war had upon the world, and this week marks the centenary of the war that ended with so many dead and missing.
There are now no more survivors left from WW1 but the four-year battles will be forever remembered with events across the country. Exhibitions, displays and events have been taking place across the UK throughout the year, culminating in this week’s remembrance celebrations.
One of the most high profile is the staggeringly poignant poppy display at the Tower of London, which has attracted so many visitors that there was talk of extending it so that more people can reflect on the visual and emotive impressions that the poppies evoke.
Events Taking Place
And in other parts of the country, myriad events are taking place to mark 100 years since the First World War, including an ongoing initiative in Bristol. Bristol 2014 was awarded a £55,000 grant to offer a series of commissions for contemporary artists to reflect on the war. As part of the Royal West of England Academy programme, Back From the Front, the works have been displayed throughout the year and on 15 November, the First World War Day: The Bristol 2014 Arts Projects events is taking place in Watershed. Many of the exhibiting artists will be there.
Keep an eye out for Musicians South West, a group touring with Women of World War One – A Tribute in Music, Women of all ages and backgrounds tell their experiences of living through the dramatic events of World War One, drawn from various letters and correspondence.
Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: ‘These projects and others like them bring together artists, audiences, communities, eminent speakers, and young people in joint commemoration of one of the most poignant dates in our recent history.”
There’s still time to visit the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery exhibition, Moved by Conflict, showing at MShed until 1 March 2015 in association with Bristol Old Vic. And Bath Mozartfest is holding a programme called Anthems for a Doomed Youth at the Guildhall on the 11th November, featuring the Myrthen Ensemble performing songs by Schubert, Wolf, Mahler, Faure, Duparc, Poulenc, Granados, Rorem, Mussorgsky, Ireland, Britten, Finzi and Gurney.
Finally, if you are anywhere near Truro Cathedral in Cornwall, Cornwall Remembers will be staging two performances of Britten’s War Requiem based on the poetry of Wilfred Owen and on 11 November at 11am 10,000 poppies (representing Cornish war dead) will be released.
For more events marking the First world War near you check out 14-18 NOW. This is the official cultural programme for the Centenary commemorations, with events taking place through the country funded by £5 million of lottery funding from the Arts Council, £5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £250,000 from the DCMS.