One of the most famous incidents of World War One was the Christmas truce of 1914. Folklore has built up around it and the events, some of which are true and some imagined.
It was when ordinary men did extraordinary things in the face of great inhumanity. During WWI letter writing was incredibly important. In most cases letters were the main form of communication and it’s been interesting to hear children talk about it.
Nowadays they are surrounded by electronic devices that allow them to contact people all over the world at the touch of a few buttons.
So much electronic chatter disappears into the air but the handwritten “hard copy” letters from 100 or so years ago are tangible evidence of a time in history we must never forget.
It’s said that the winners write history but the letters of WWI are about the thoughts, fears and lives of ordinary people. They are people who had no say in whether the country went to war or not but left their homes, their wives and families because “it was the right thing to do”.
“We’ll Be Home For Christmas” is the beginning of a four year community project that revolves around Belper families during the “war to end all wars”.
Local groups and individuals have combined to bring drama, music, dance and poetry together for three evenings in December, evenings that will feature during the next four years covering different aspects of the war.
Over 100 adults and children will combine to give their interpretations of life during the first six months of the war.
Belper Musical Theatre, Captive Audience Community Theatre and Belper School are amongst the groups and individuals who have been busy creating their segments to form the whole.
The Christmas truce may be at the core of the production but it is the people of Belper, past and present, who are at it’s heart. “We’ll be Home for Christmas” will be performed at St Peter’s Church, Chesterfield Road on 4, 5, 6 December from 7:30pm. Tickets are available from St Peter’s Church and through the Belper Arts Festival web site (www.belperartsfestival.org) at £3 each with children under sixteen getting free admission. Profits will be donated to the Royal British Legion.