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Our KS2  play - a fitting commemoration to WW1

 As the leading light of Hallaton’s A Prelude to Remembrance, it was only fitting for Denis Kenyon to deliver the final and most devastating line of the village school’s production of ‘Archie Dobson’s War’. After the play’s narrators had listed the numbers dead from Britain, France, Germany, Austria and Russia, Mr Kenyon announced that of the nine million killed in World War I, forty were from this tiny corner of Leicestershire.

Just one line, just a few words. But by God they had impact.

Rob John’s BBC play was produced and directed by a dedicated team of teachers, and performed by years four, five and six of the school. Opening in the summer of 1914, it focused on 10-year-old Archie (Rory Coleman) as he first comes to terms with the advent of war, and then deals with disillusionment and disbelief as his friend Walter (Magnus Astill) and father (Jack Dilworth-Hunt) leave to fight.

Scenes at home were contrasted with life at the front. A staging of the famous 1914 Christmas truce, for which the performers sang ‘Silent Night’ in German, was a highlight. But in truth the entire show was as poignant as it was evocative, and the feeling among parents accustomed to seeing the children in wonderfully staged school productions was that this was something extra-special. Thanks were given to those involved on the night and never were they more deserved.

A Prelude to Remembrance included talks, a concert, a film screening, and an exhibition, ‘All Over By Christmas’, in the church. Many of the themes touched upon throughout the week were encapsulated in this wonderful production, and Mr Kenyon’s heartbreaking closing statistic quite literally brought the war home.

Reviewed by Andrew Holmes