Boy Soldiers: voices from the Great War

Boy Soldiers: voices from the Great War, is a short film, commissioned by the Museum of London which tries to imagine some of the experiences of boy soldiers in the trenches.

No one aged under 18 should have been able to sign up, yet we know that over 250,000 boys fought in the war.

Research carried out by John Shepherd at Islington Museum found that over 50 boys from Islington alone joined up and never came back. The names of these Islington boys create the backdrop for the film.

Actors from Islington’s Young Actors Theatre give voice to their peers from 100 years ago and in so doing try to bridge the gap of the intervening century connecting the generations together. Scenes filmed at a reconstructed trench are juxtaposed with teenagers in contemporary Islington locations interspersed with archive footage some of it taken from the Imperial War Museum.

The film was conceived, written and directed by artist and film maker, Mark Maxwell and produced in collaboration with Islington based Three Legged Theatre Company  Mark Maxwell has over 20 years experience creating artworks, video and paintings. A common theme in his work is the transformation of materials and their reformation to show qualities not normally visible. Founded in 1990, Three Legged Theatre Company focus on commissioning and developing new writing. They have produced 14 plays including a national tour. This is their first foray into film.

The film was shot on location at a reconstructed trench in Charlwood, Surrey and at Barnard Park and the Young Actors Theatre in Islington. It was funded through Arts Council England.

We hope that the film will stimulate debate and discussion around the Great War.

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