One hundred years after the end of World War I Army@TheFringe is hosting a remarkable production commemorating the role of Indian troops in the trenches.
The Troth is one of six shows being presented at the venue, at the Hepburn House Army Reserve Centre in Edinburgh’s New Town, several of which have an international theme.
Among them is inVALID Voices, by Edinburgh writer Helen-Marie O’Malley, which explores the experiences of foreign and Commonwealth troops serving in the Army today.
The Troth, which is based on a century-old Hindi short story by Chandradhar Sharma Guleri, combines dance, music, rare archive footage and newly created film, has already enjoyed great success on tour in India and the UK.
Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Mackenzie, Head of Engagement for the Army in Scotland, said:“A hundred years ago there were immense numbers of Indian and African troops fighting alongside soldiers from every part of Britain.
“They served in the trenches and on every other battlefront, yet their sacrifice and service is not widely remembered in this country. The centenary of the end of the war is an ideal opportunity to change that, and a fabulous production like The Trothcan help achieve that.
“Likewise the Army today has many soldiers from overseas, especially from Commonwealth nations, within its ranks. Their contribution is phenomenal. Plays like inVALID Voices, written by the wife of a Fijian veteran, give an authentic insight into their lives and the lives of their families – both positive and negative.
“We hope that this year’s Army@TheFringe programme will stimulate discussion about a multitude of issues, including the importance of soldiers from overseas in the Army in the past, the present and the future.”
The Trothwas created with expert historical advice from India and the UK. It was conceived Mira Kaushik OBE, Director of Akademi, which is a London-based South Asian dance organisation.
She said: “The Troth is a truly international show. Even though the story originates in India, the central emotions of love and loss are universal.
“The effects of the Great War were felt equally around the world with people showing immense bravery and courage in the face of enormous human cost.
“The contemporary language of the show and use of multiple media have made this story of an Indian soldier accessible to a diverse audience across geographies. We are honoured that it has been so well received by both Indian and international viewers.”
By contrast inVALID Voices is a theatre piece based on interviews with women serving as, and married to, Commonwealth soldiers in today’s Army.
The three-woman play looks at serving as British soldier in Iraq, the impact of regimental restructuring and the aftermath of a fatal ambush in Afghanistan.
Helen-Marie O’Malley, said: “Service personnel from the Commonwealth have a long and proud track record in our armed forces, sharing their specialist skills and contributing to global campaigns; yet they have a considerable burden that they and their families must endure.
“inVALID Voiceslooks at the way this burden impacts directly upon the families – the cultural adjustments that must be made, the cost of visas and resettlement and the toll taken on the mental health of the wives.”
Army@TheFringe is presented by Army Headquarters Scotland as a way of engaging with wider society through the arts and initiating discussion about soldiering.
The venue, which runs from 10 to 25 August, is staffed by soldiers who run the bar and front of house services, and who mingle with the public before and after shows.
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Notes for editors
The shows at this year’s Army@TheFringe include:
- The Troth, from Akademi
- Forget Me Nots, from Rokkur Friggjar
- inVALID Voices, by Helen-Marie O’Malley
- Shell Shock, by Neil Blower
- Wired, by Lesley Wilson
- Cezary Goes to War, Komuna Warszawa
- Army@TheFringe is presented by The Army in association with Summerhall. Summerhall is working with the Army to present a diverse programme of performance which tells stories of life in and out of uniform.
- Facilities at Hepburn House will include the relaxed and comfortable Mess Bar plus an Army Tuckshop.
- Summerhall is at 1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Details of all the shows can be found online at www.summerhall.co.uk
For media information contact Matthew Shelley at SFPR on 07786704299 or Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.Org