WW1:Ipswich Remembers was performed on Saturday March 17 2018 at The Corn Exchange in Ipswich.
What people said:
“……full of invention and sincerity”
“….an artistic triumph involving every possible means of human expression! I have not been as moved by any “performance” (a rather inadequate word for what took place)…”
Stephen, Ipswich Art Society
“… It was an amazing celebration and tribute and it really was one of the best concerts I have been to in recent years.”
“Truly amazing, wonderful. Choir, dance, light, images – all my thing. I found it really emotional”.
…makes me feel very humbled and full of emotions I cannot find the words to explain…’magnificent’ described some dancers, ‘seamless and smooth’ described the whole show.
…We are lucky to have such a great choreographer…
… Everything about the conception, artistry and execution was a joy to witness…It was a truly humbling experience, and something that will remain with me always. Everyone who took part should feel a tremendous sense of pride and achievement … The choreography was incredibly touching and very, very strong. You obviously have a keen sense of what ‘works’, and how to get the best out of each of your dancers, and this was evident in the consistently high level of execution at every stage of the performance.
Tom Randle, Tenor
A review by Robert Pacitti, Artist + Curator, SPILL Festival
Ipswich Remembers opened important cultural space for shared community remembrance of the WW1 centenary, with sensitive, care, and great skill.
A diverse cast of dancing kids, adults and seniors shared the space with singers and musicians, Morris’s dancers, orators and material presented on video.
What could have been a little bit worthy and perhaps clunky in the ways large works with a social function performed by non-professionals can sometimes be, was in fact deeply moving and flowed thoughtfully from one scene to another.
Themes of remembrance, bravery, loss, stigma, labour and the potential for peace were set choreographically by Mary Davies with tremendous generosity, to moving music beautifully performed by the choir and musicians.
The first half of the event established a formal structure and presented material which was accessible and appropriate to the large local audience in attendance, including some wartime songs and texts that would have been familiar to some.
The second half of the event blindsided me in its intensity and dared to go a little further formally. This was certainly a feat of genuine community organisation that clearly set out with a high quality bar in place, which in turn delivered a meaningful and moving work for the people of Ipswich to properly have space and time to remember.
It managed to be that rare thing – a work about a really difficult subject where nonetheless our tears were those only of joy for the energy and agency on show.
Notes on the project
The project was supported by the Arts Council.
Mary worked with musical director Robin Walker on WW1:Ipswich Remembers on this moving, collaborative piece marking the centenary of the Great War.
The two artists used source material held in archives from across Suffolk and worked with local communities to bring the piece to life.
Set to the emotive score of “Eternal light”, by Howard Goodall, the participants navigated through a landscape of mixed media, dance, and voice.
In memoriam: The years of the Great War in Ipswich, in words, music and dance (East Anglian Daily Times)