Watch Year 9 War Poetry Performances from the Webber's own Trench

Year 9 students marked the one hundredth anniversary of the 1914 Christmas Truce with a sustained, high quality dramatisation of selected World War One poetry, performed in and around the school's own trench construction within the Drama Studio. Several performances were given to various in house groups and classes whilst three separate run throughs were given during the Christmas Evening celebration on 15th December, for especially invited guests, families and visitors.

The dramatisation was filmed and posted on YouTube.

The overall look and feel of the readings and improvisation is deliberately one of darkness and twilight, particularly with the poems which started with the small Christmas lights as the only source of illumination. The darkness forces the viewer to concentrate on what is said before the main lights come on.

The opening poem of the sequence featured a realistically hand crafted rat and a symbolic poppy, to dramatise the key elements of Isaac Rosenberg's Break of Day in the Trenches with its haunting reflection upon the harsh mortality rate of the First World War. Following on were a simple, blunt representation of Siegfried Sassoon's Suicide in the Trenches, emphasising the shocking fate which awaited many innocent and barely capable young soldiers; a quieter and poignant reading of Charles Sorley's thoughts about the enemy, To Germany; and - as the climax - a full and dramatic rendition of Carol Anne Duffy's Christmas Truce 1914.

The participating students devoted time in and out of lessons to ensuring one of the most special and memorable contributions to school life which their audiences were privileged to share. It was fitting that those who attended the Christmas Evening took part in the traditional carol singing around the tree where Stille Nacht (the original hymn) and its English translation Silent Night were sung.

Martin Roper
Head of English

 Break of Day in the Trenches by Isaac Rosenberg

Suicide in the Trenches by Siegfried Sassoon

To Germany by Charles Hamilton Sorley

The Christmas Truce 1914 by Carol Anne Duffy

A picture taken by one of the Year 9 parents

Singing Silent Night and Stille Nacht

This is the first presentation of film and photographs from the Webber 'Whiz Bang Alley' trench project. It was a pleasure to film. Over the next few weeks and months other video clips, blog posts, photographs and contributions from the teachers involved in the project will be published. The intention is that they will be brought together on one site where they might inspire others to think both about the Great War and maybe attempt a similar project in their schools.

Justin Nash
Head of History


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