‘We Were Brothers’ is a project comprised of a play with accompanying book, DVD, website and school/community outreach programmes which focuses on the shared history of nationalists and unionists who fought together in the British uniform during WWI.
The play tells the story of soldiers from the North West fighting as a combined force during the battle of Messines in 1917. More particularly, the play highlights the forgotten history of the 1,000 nationalists from Derry/Londonderry who enlisted with the Irish Volunteers. Despite their reluctance to wear a British uniform, they joined the army in the hope that a united Ireland would be their reward.
What worked well and what, if anything, didn't?
It stimulates people to consider commemoration of their heritage and raised awareness of shared history through discussion and sharing of personal stories.
The play was adapted to be performed in schools with debates with community groups and participants after the performances which went beyond the original theme of shared heritage to include issues of reconciliation, identity, flags, emblems and contemporary warfare. Through their children’s experiences in school, the play provides space and opportunity for adults to explore their own history.
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