My Father’s Wars – the live read

The My Father’s Wars podcasts are 5 episodes (45 minutes) about the experiences of a young lieutenant on the Western Front in 1917/18 (my father) and how they impacted him, and us, later, in family life.  They’re designed to be available to anyone, anywhere in the country who may have had family in that war or any other -but who is seeking to know a little more about that experience.

Interestingly, though, that story seems to be shifting shape.  All the way through development there have been live reads of portions of the script… for symposiums, for family history events, for professional developments.

These readings were unexpectedly affecting – of us, as actors, and of our audience.  And we and the audience would have conversations about our family members who served, then or later. About the history that we all knew and the history that we feared…

Following on from the audience response in workshops/symposia to these short, live-read sections, the Library asked me to do a live performance of the whole script for Remembrance Day 2018.  So, Guy Webster, the sound designer, and I sat in the recording studio and re-mixed the sound for live performance, working through script edits and re-writes on the fly as we went.

On the day, it was shocking, really – how personal this young man’s story from 100 years ago felt to us all.  The live reading takes you there – you do not know what will happen next.  Each revelation could be one of horror, or humour, or grace.  So, the live reading of My Father’s Wars is a reality – for schools, RSLs, Legacy groups, Mates4Mates if they would like it.  We just need to organise it.

The reading runs for 40 minutes, involves 4 actors and a sound operator and can include Q and As, a description of the research process, or a more detailed examination of elements of WW1 history for teachers seeking an innovative way in to the WW1 history curriculum.

My Father’s Wars was originally funded by QANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation, a project proudly supported by the Queensland Government and State Library of Queensland.

For more information, please contact Elaine at Assembly of Elephants through