Rochester Arts in Mission is a creative and vibrant resource for those who seek to explore issues around faith. From Brexit to pottery, smartphone videos to ideas for drama – Rochester Arts in Mission offers a wide variety of resources and ideas.
A Film Resource for Remembrance is a pertinent resource as the nation marks 100 years of the end of the First World War.
The Rev’d Mandy Carr who leads Rochester Arts in Mission tells some of the story behind this project:
“I had been moved by the installation of ‘There But Not There’ in Penshurst Church and wrote a blog about it. At first, there were plans to roll it out locally and, as we are close to Penshurst, St. George’s was approached to see if we might be interested in being involved. We agreed immediately and became one of the founding partners. This modest plan for expansion, however, was soon overtaken in a tide of national enthusiasm. A charity ‘Remembered’ was formed and now ‘There But Not There’ has spread, not only in this country, but overseas too, with over 2,500 communities becoming involved. (For more details of the project see http://www.therebutnotthere.org.uk ).
In Weald Parish we have sixteen names on our war memorial but we have another two men who died after the war of their injuries so we have eighteen figures due to take their place in St. George’s for our Remembrance weekend. It’s difficult to contemplate the impact on a small, rural community like ours, until we see their silhouettes seated in our pews. Suddenly it becomes real and when we see their name blocks by them – family names that are still heard around the community – we begin to understand the immense loss a little better.
To take that connection with the past further, a few of us decided to create a project that would tell the story of one of the soldiers. It started with a poem called ‘Distance’ written by Elizabeth Miller, one of our congregation. This became the framework for our short film. Letters played an important part in keeping morale up in the trenches and we focused on the correspondence between a young couple as they contemplate what to write and what to stay quiet about in order to keep their hopes and dreams alive.
I then wrote a screenplay around the poem and Julia Downing, our Director of Music, wrote the score. We enlisted the talents of two young actors. Katie Beddoe plays ‘Anne’, a wife expecting her first baby and Matthew Carr, plays ‘Tom’, her husband called up to serve his country. We shot the film in the village and were grateful for all the local help we received.