Theatre & Performance

Mud and Blood – World War 1 Play

Pompey Elliott and a soldier’s mother deal with his vow to look after his boys as if they were his own. He turns WWI in the Allies favour at The Somme in 1918 but war comes home with him.

Days Left

This compelling tale of courage, loyalty and betrayal is based on real events. Staging Mud and Blood this year with Anzac and Armistice centenaries is crucial, and aligns with school curriculum. It extends understanding of WWI beyond disastrous losses at Gallipoli to France and the home-front; it resonates with concerns about PTSD and shows the cost of war for men and women.

With an even female-male team, the project includes rural artists, brings overlooked aspects of war beyond the stage to communities and rural areas, gives talks to schools and groups, and Q&A sessions after shows. Anzac Day 2018 is the centenary of the Battle of Villers Bretonneux, where General Pompey Elliott and his men turned the war in the Allies’ favour. However, this feat, its leader, and women’s contributions are too little known. Mud and Blood gives modern audiences a fresh perspective on Australians on the Great War’s world stage.

War is often shown in male terms but this play also has a female lead who questions the promises and cost of the Great War. Mud and Blood portrays events that divided our nation with conscription debates and it gives a rounded platform for discussions at schools and groups. Our awarded and skilled team will engage with communities, work with local choirs to intone the era and set the scene, showcase local talent, create valuable artistic collaborations, and extend experience and opportunities for future networking. To ensure the play’s viability, the story is told in vivid simplicity with minimal set and six actors. Funding is needed to ensure this story reaches rural areas, too, despite the challenges of population and distance. General Pompey Elliott led the Essendon Rifles; in WWI, his men came from North and West Melbourne, Central Victoria and across the nation, where women played their part; their names are on honour boards in cities and towns in Australia and memorials overseas. Mud and Blood has widespread significance.

The Great War was the costliest in Australian casualties and the nation built more memorials than any of its allies, attesting to national grief and the impassable distance then from the New World to Old World cemeteries and cenotaphs. The play reaches out to young Australians who pass memorials, statues and honour boards on their way to class and work, without a second glance, except on Anzac or Remembrance Day. Mud and Blood gives people a second look at men and women in war. Donations will ensure that this history is shared among us and better understood by Australians, who live beyond the sight and sound of those world-changing times. Our project extends beyond the city stage to the road less traveled by ensemble theatre, reaching into the country, into classrooms and club-rooms to bring this important but less familiar history alive in towns, from where young people served, women contributed and loved ones grieved. Your support will ensure fair pay for artists’ talented work and project outreach to rural areas. Thank you

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