Remembering WW1 with Immersion Theatre

R.C Sherriff’s ‘Journey’s End’ is an insight into the life of soliders in WW1, it’s importance and relevance evermore important during the centenary of WW1. In September Immersion Theatre will be presenting ‘Journey’s End’ at Swindon Arts Centre.  Artistic Director James Tobias spoke to us about the process of staging ‘Journey’s End’ and future plans for the company.

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What is the story of Journey’s End and who are the characters involved?

‘Journey’s End’ is a moving and harrowing insight into trench-life during WW1. It’s based on the author’s own experience and follows a company of men over 4 days as they await for the impending German attack. It’s harrowing as we see ordinary men of all ages, forced to deal with the atrocities of war and the way in which that affects them. It’s very much an ensemble piece, but if you had to pick central characters, I would say they would be Stanhope, the 21 year old company commander driven to alcoholism having spent three years on the front line straight out of school and who is now in charge of leading a company of men, the 18 year old Raleigh whose enthusiasm of war and naivety has heartbreaking consequences and Osborne, a middle aged former school teacher with a heart of gold who serves to show us the in-discrimination of war.

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Photo: Immersion Theatre

Journeys End 1

Photo: Immersion Theatre

What’s the process involved in adapting Journey’s End?

As it’s such an iconic story, we’re not adapting the piece as you would with a Shakespeare say, we are just focusing on bringing R. C. Sherriff’s masterpiece to the stage. As the show’s director and the company’s artistic director, I may not have the freedom to impose the concepts I do on our other dramas, however, the writing is so phenomenal and the story so powerful (not least considering it is based on Sherriff’s experiences), my main priority is to do this iconic show justice and pay respect to the valiant men who had to deal with the haunting silences, death, the tension of the unknown, etc…

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Photo: Immersion Theatre

How important is the play today in the context of the 100th anniversary since the outbreak of WW1?

I believe this play will always be important. WW1 is such an important part of our history and one which we should never forget, therefore I would like to think that this play and its subject matter will be timeless and have relevance hundreds of years from now.

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Photo: Immersion Theatre

 What are the future plans for Immersion Theatre?

We have some very exciting plans in the pipeline. We are currently touring our open-air production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ before taking ‘Journey’s End’ on the road. Alongside this, we are overjoyed to be associate producers on the upcoming tour of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ which is being produced by Sell A Door and Damien Tracey Productions after which, we will be going into panto. Next year we’ll then be kicking off with a Spring tour of ‘Alice in Wonderland’, which will be followed by our yet-to-be announced Summer season and panto. We have also acquired the rights to a fantastic musical which we’re hoping to tour next autumn so it’s all systems go!

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Journey’s End will be at Swindon Arts Centre on Fri 23 Sep.

For more information and to buy tickets please visit: http://bit.ly/JourneysEnd16

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