This November, Stratford Churches Together has planned Stratford Remembers, a programme of events in partnership with local communities and organisations to mark the centenary of the World War I Armistice. Over a period of two weeks, the town's churches will host events including theatre, film, exhibitions and remembrance services to remember the sacrifice made by those who fought and gave their lives on the front-line as well as those affected closer to home.
“This year’s remembrance commemorations are a once in a lifetime opportunity to mark the Armistice of 1918,” said The Reverend Steve Jarvis, Associate Vicar at Holy Trinity. “The Armistice is an important event internationally and nationally, but we wanted to mark it at a local level, telling the stories of Stratford people and tying them in to the South Midlands region. Whether watching a film or lighting a candle, Stratford Remembers brings together events to offer different ways and opportunities for people to reflect and remember those involved in World War I.”
Events at Holy Trinity
There But Not There
Starting during Warwickshire schools’ half-term holiday on Monday 29th October, visitors to the church will be able to view our installation of Tommy figures. The figures, which represent the fallen, are part of a national installation through the There But Not There project from the charity Remembered. Holy Trinity secured grant funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust to purchase the Perspex seated silhouettes. The installation will help to tell the story of St Peter’s Chapel dedicated in 1919 as a memorial to the 61st (2nd South Midlands) Division. This was a second-line infantry unit raised in 1915 from the men of Warwickshire as well as those from South Birmingham, Coventry, Gloucestershire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.
Further information about the Tommy figures is available at www.therebutnotthere.org.uk.
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Exhibition
A further exhibition within the church tells the story of the contribution of the people of Stratford-upon-Avon to the story of the Great War. Previously only on display at Hall’s Croft the exhibition is offered in partnership with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and features the stories of those in active service as well as on the home front.
Journey’s End Screening
Holy Trinity will join CofE churches across the country in screening the 2018 film adaptation of R.C. Sherriff’s Journey’s End. Set in the trenches near Saint-Quentin, Aisne in 1918, towards the end of the First World War, the film, starring Toby Jones, Paul Bettany and Robert Glenister, portrays the officers of a British Army infantry company. The free screening takes place on Wednesday 7th November at 7.30pm (doors open at 7.00pm). Although free, the event is ticketed with a suggested donation of £5 towards the veterans’ charity Combat Stress. Tickets will be available from 22nd October from the Holy Trinity church shop.
Services of Reflection and Remembrance
Holy Trinity will hold a special all-age service on the morning of All Saints’ Day (4th November) at 10am. This will be suitable for families to attend and will feature a mix of contemporary and traditional music.
The Armistice itself will be marked by a special Vigil Service at 7pm on Saturday 10th November. This will be an opportunity to light a candle of remembrance for the fallen of the 1914-1918 Great War conflict, while accompanied by the choir singing Compline, and a selection of music chosen for the occasion.
On Remembrance Sunday, 11th November, we will host a civic service at 10am before moving to the Garden of Remembrance for 10.50am, where along with the Royal British Legion, Armed Forces Cadet Units, civic dignitaries and members of the public, we will facilitate the laying of the wreaths at the war memorial.
On the evening of the 11th November a beacon will be lit in the Remembrance Garden, part of a chain of beacons that will be lit around the country. This will be followed by a peal of bells from Holy Trinity.
Commemorations will culminate with series of five evening performances of Shakespeare’s Henry V in an acclaimed production from Antic Disposition. Tickets are now available for the performances at Holy Trinity on 12th to 16th November 2018 at www.henry-v.co.uk
The production combines Shakespeare’s history play with original songs inspired by the poetry of AE Housman, shifting between 1415 and 1915, to create a tribute to the young soldiers in conflicts five centuries apart. The production has been lauded by critics as imaginative and deeply moving and is being performed in cathedrals around the country.