There’s already been a call out for volunteers for this year’s biggest street theatre event – and now 120 people have the chance to be part of the show itself.
For the first time in its 21 year history of producing jaw-dropping giant events, the company behind the theatrical spectacle, Royal de Luxe, is asking members of the public to play a central role in their production.
Although the full story is yet to be revealed for Memories of August 1914, part of it will focus on the recreation of the recruitment of the Liverpool Pals battalions, which 100 years ago saw men volunteer alongside their family members, neighbours and work colleagues, signing up to defend Britain on the battlefields of Europe.
The team is after 120 men to volunteer to take part in Memories which runs from 23-27 July, with the main action taking place from 25-27 July. All applicants:
• Must be over 18 years of age
• Be physically fit as marching repeatedly will be required.
• Must also be available for rehearsals on the 27-30 June, 16, 19 and 24-27 July.
• Must be able to supply their own costume – period civilian outfits are welcomed as are period military uniforms (of the era)
The deadline for applications is 10pm Tuesday 6 May. For full details on how to apply visit www.giantspectacular.com/getinvolved and fill in the Liverpool Pals Battalions re-enactment volunteer application form.
Founder and Artistic Director of Royal de Luxe, Jean Luc Courcoult, said: “We put our heart and soul into these shows and it’s hugely important for us that our giants tell a story which resonates with the city they are exploring.
“Liverpool has such a rich history and the Pals is an incredible and inspirational part of that – and one that we had to incorporate in the show. When we looked at developing the idea, we decided we must recruit an army, and there was no doubt in our minds that we wanted it to be made up of people from Liverpool.
“We aim to recreate the recruitment spirit of 100 years ago, and we’re positive the finished product will be an emotional highlight for many. ”
Tony Wainwright, Secretary of the Liverpool Pals Memorial Fund, said: “We are delighted that Royal De Luxe have chosen to incorporate the story of the formation of the Liverpool Pals in the production Memories of August 1914.
“The Liverpool Pals story is a remarkable one. Following Lord Derby’s promise that Liverpool would provide one battalion of men from the business community of Liverpool, the response was overwhelming. Between August and November 1914 not one but four battalions were formed and there were enough volunteers to form two reserve battalions. They went on to distinguish themselves during the course of the war, seeing action in some of the fiercest battles.
“Sadly over 2800 men fell in action and never saw the peace for which they gave their lives. On 31 August 2014 a memorial will be unveiled in Lime Street station. The date is significant, being 100 years to the day of the first volunteers signing up at St Georges Hall to join the Liverpool Pals.
“We hope that the Pals being involved in the show will raise the profile of their story and allow many more people to discover their heroism. The city of Liverpool should be rightly proud of OUR Pals, the first to be formed and the last to be stood down. With the help of Royal de Luxe we hope to show just how proud we should be.”
Liverpool City Council’s Arts and Participation Manager Alicia Smith, said: “This is a first for Royal de Luxe as they have never before involved people outside their company to be part of the show itself.
“The Pals are a huge part of Liverpool’s history and it would have been impossible for us to re-tell a story about the outbreak of the Great War and its impact on Liverpool, without including them.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for members of the public to be part of the UK’s flagship 2014 commemoration event, making it a truly unforgettable experience.
“We hope as many men as possible sign up for this one in a lifetime opportunity.”