The Soldier’s Song
A uniformed soldier looks you in the eyes and sings on the large TV screen. A microphone invites you to sing along with one of 8 soldiers. The Soldier’s Song was made with and about serving soldiers, developed over an 18 month period of conversation and questions. One by one, alone in a booth, we choose one from a list of 8 songs and soldiers. The Soldier’s Song challenges our preconceptions and asks us to ponder our connection with the screen soldier by inviting us to duet with someone who might fight in our name. Are we willing to remain an audience? What do we think?
Why we made The Soldier’s Song
“Over the last few years I’ve pondered the wars we are engaged in and started to doubt my certainties of opinion, begun to question the sometimes lazy thinking that forms them. I wanted clear well-informed answers. When I began making the piece I didn’t know any soldiers. I set out to meet some and talk – with no idea where those conversations would take me. As I started asking questions, the casual judgements I had been making were replaced with something much more complex.
The piece isn’t exactly neutral – how could it be – but audience reaction has embraced all shades of political opinion. At the end of the process, I have far more questions than I started with – and I hope I have provoked some of the same questions in viewers.”
Morecambe Library, Morecambe; Tydesley Top Chapel, Tyldesley; Beswick Library, Manchester; University of Salford, MediaCityUK, Salford (Quays Culture open Day & Salford and Trafford Family Arts Festival 2014); Wythenshawe Games, Wythenshawe; Ordsall Hall, Salford; The Bookmark Festival, Oldham Library; Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston; Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester; Fierce Festival, Birmingham (installed at Moor Street Station); Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival, Groningen, (installed in the park); Nuffield Theatre, Lancaster (installed in an empty city centre shop); West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds; The Barbican & BAC, London.
- An audience response by Lowri Evans, artist and Make-Believe performer
- Promoter information
- BBC World Service Radio interview with Renny O’ Shea and Vincent Dowd, from The Soldier’s Song at Barbican, London.
The Soldier’s Song is part of a larger project in 2014 & 2015 supported by an Arts Council England Strategic Touring grant to bring high quality work to new people and places.
The project involves the presentation of three pieces of Quarantine’s work: Between us, we know everything…, The Soldier’s Song, and Table Manners. All or a combination of these three works will be presented across 2014 & 2015, in collaboration with our project partners, who are: Contact, Manchester; Live at LICA, Lancaster; Derby Theatre; Spot on Lancashire (rural touring network); Quays Culture, Salford; Compass Live Art Festival, Leeds; Salford Community Leisure; Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust; Manchester City Council and Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council. Research, analysis and training will also be delivered by The Audience Agency.
“Fun and silly, poignant and breathtakingly unique...the political became intensely and unforgettably personal.” Real Time Arts Magazine 2011
Credits and performance details
Singers: Lance Corporal Ian Charlton, Sergeant Steve Denny, Sergeant Gemma Keiher-Knapper, Warrant Officer Shaun Kelvin, Sergeant Dave Lawrenson, Sergeant Heather McGregor, Colour Sergeant Brendan Needham, Corporal Dee Pearson
Director Renny O’Shea; Booth designer Simon Banham; AV design & production manager Greg Akehurst; Camera Scott Abraham, Sima Gonsai, Clive Hunte; Editor Ben Lycett; Specialist advisor Warrant Officer Lutha Magloire