In July one hundred years ago, British, French and German forces began one of the most traumatic battles in military history. Over the course of just four months in 1916, more than one million soldiers were captured, wounded or killed in the Battle of the Somme, a confrontation of unimaginable horror. This ambitious new event explores the legacy of the Somme through the prism of a single city – Sunderland.
Esther Johnson’s film uses local archive footage to convey the story of the city’s involvement in the First World War, from the men who fought in the fields to those who stayed behind to work in the region’s shipyards and munitions factories. The soundtrack to the film is being created by two renowned North East bands, Sunderland’s Field Music and Newcastle’s Warm Digits, who will perform live with the Royal Northern Sinfonia. Guided by writer and musician Bob Stanley, Asunder receives its world premiere at a major event in Sunderland close to the 100th anniversary of the battle’s first salvos.
‘The performance will be alluring, poetic and political. I want everyone who sees it to take pride in the region’s unique history and to feel they can help to build its future.’
Bob Stanley, Creative Producer
Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and Sunderland Cultural Partnership