Throwing a light on the role of women in First World War

A series of free events commemorating the centenary of the end of the First World War will be held next month.

The first of the events will be a poetry, spoken word and music night in Woolwich.

The evening will focus on poetry and music from the war but will also feature artists from different cultures throwing light on the huge contribution of soldiers from Africa, India and the Caribbean. The event is from 7.30pm-10pm at the Earl of Chatham Pub in Woolwich.

The second event will be the private view of the Then and Now exhibition at Woolwich Library on Friday, November 9 from 6pm-9pm.

The exhibition has photographs from 1914-18 from around Greenwich and photographs from the same locations taken by photographer Iain McCallum from 2014-18.

The evening will have drinks, snacks and live music from Cherry Orchard and Southrise Primary School and an adult singing group.

A theatre production, based around the lives of women who worked in the Woolwich Arsenal, will be performed on Friday, November 16 at 7.30pm with two performance on Saturday, November 17, one at 4pm and one in the evening at 7.30pm.

Women working in munitions (main pic) in Woolwich Arsenal, (above), actors Alisha Watkins and Donna Combes in period costume, rehearsing for the play The Canaries,

The play, The Canaries, was written by Greenwich playwright Louisa Le Marchand who also manages Global Fusion Music and Arts (GFMA), which is organising all the events.

She said: “We focused on the men and their contribution to the First World War in 2014 with a play by another Greenwich playwright, Robert Fanshawe. “All About the Boys, Robert’s play, is about Wilfred Owen.

It was a huge success and was attended by Wilfred Owen’s nephew. “For that reason I felt that this year we would show the huge contribution that the women had made to the Great War here in Woolwich.

“I wrote the play in 2014 with the view of staging it this year to commemorate the centenary of the ending of the First World War.

“It is so incredible to be staging the play in one of the few remaining buildings that the women used to work in and I am very grateful to the council for funding this production.”

The play is being directed by James Haddrell, artistic director of Greenwich Theatre.

Performances are free and tickets are available at www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/centenary or phone GFMA on 02088589497.

To round up the centenary commemorations, GFMA will be screening the film War Horse on Friday, November 23 in The Grand Salon, Charlton House, which was a First World War military hospital.

Entrance is £3 (voluntary donation) and the film starts at 7.30pm.

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