We are delighted to be able to honour and celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day within our community this Friday, with a range of exciting, safe, socially distanced and online performances.
On Friday afternoon, we have arranged for local musical couple Jenna and Adam Saiz-Abo Henriksen to perform war time songs to the residents and staff of St Fillan’s Care Home and Hill House Residential Care Home in Colchester. From a safe distance outside of the premises, the duo will entertain the residents and staff with a 20 minute set of beautiful, nostalgic songs. Residents are encouraged to enjoy the celebrations, listening from the safety of their rooms, and where possible watching the performance from their windows. Adam, who is a local choir leader and composer, and Jenna, a freelance artist and singer in a vintage troupe, will use their own musical equipment, ensuring that no physical contact is necessary and prioritising the safety of all those involved during this special VE Day performance.
We will also take our celebrations online, when we release a video starring members of their Young Company, who, alongside their grandparents, have joined together to recite a poem using video conferencing platform, Zoom. The poem, The Siren, which was originally published in a magazine presented by Essex Civil Defence Soldiers for Christmas 1939, highlights the creativity and sense of community that can be found even in the most difficult of times; a mirror to the creativity and community spirit emanating across Colchester during the current lockdown. Keep an eye on our social media for when the video goes live!
We are also thrilled to announce that we will be streaming our award winning hit musical, Pieces of String, for free, online on VE Day. This new British musical, which premiered at the Mercury in 2018, explores three generations of one family, alternating between the 1940s and the present day, telling the story of a World War II soldier who returned with a secret that he would carry until the day he died. With hauntingly beautiful music and a heart-rending human story, Pieces of String is a tender, funny, emotionally-charged exploration of how a family learn to deal with a story that nobody’s been brave enough to tell until today.
Written and composed by Gus Gowland, Pieces of String was developed by Perfect Pitch and co-produced by the Mercury Theatre Colchester and TBO Productions. The musical was a hit with audiences in Colchester and went on to win the Stage Debut Award 2018 for Best Composer or Lyricist, and was nominated for Best Musical Theatre Bookwriting by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and Best Musical Production by UK Theatre Awards. We will host the online screening on Vimeo from 10am to 11:59pm on Friday 8 May. Head to www.mercurytheatre.co.uk/pieces-of-string-online from 10am on Friday morning to access the link.
The Pieces of String streaming and VE Day poetry presentation are presented as part of the Mercury Theatre’s #MercuryOnline programme, offering free digital activity to both audiences and arts industry professionals during the COVID19 lockdown.
While all #MercuryOnline activity is free to its users, we hope that those who feel able to do so will consider supporting the theatre with a donation, either online at www.mercurytheatre.co.uk/support or by texting MERCURY to 70085 to give £5*.
*Texts cost £5 plus your standard network rate