The ‘Castle Drogo to Salonika’ project touched many people’s lives – the staff and volunteers researching the local stories; military historians researching the history of the Salonika campaign; staff and students at Okehampton College; relatives and friends attending the drama event; general visitors to Castle Drogo; people attending the ‘Away from the Western Front’ conference and others accessing the film and research online.
Here are some of the comments from students, describing the history they discovered and how the drama activity improved their techniques and practice:
[We learnt about] the true Salonika conditions. [We also learnt about] William’s life as an ordinary boy, gone to a vicious place as a brave soldier.
- It improved my confidence in performing, but changed how I perceived war from a ‘heroic act’ to a ‘horrific action’.
- I have a feeling of reassurance and a feeling of professionalism; it was a wonderful experience and I have gone away very happy surrounded by brilliant people.
- I felt a great sense of community and teamwork whilst being involved. I also felt that there was a lot of freedom over the devising which was really enjoyable.
Audience members at the drama event commented:
- It’s easy to forget how young people are affected by the theme of conflict. I loved seeing how seriously they were taking their work.
- It has made it so local – the thought that the actors are of an age that would actually be participating in the war for real.
- A real insight in to how the story affected young people. Also, how the use of physical theatre can help show deep feelings and multiple viewpoints.
- I hadn’t realised how many had died from illness and malaria.
The exhibition in the Castle chapel was very well received by visitors to Castle Drogo in summer 2018:
- Visitors have been seen wiping tears away and have commented on the impact of young people sharing their interpretation of the story. (National Trust staff member)
- I would like to congratulate you on the exhibition in the Chapel. It is truly lovely. (National Trust volunteer)
- It is very moving to see how the young people were taken by the story. (visitor)
Click here for an evaluation report about the ‘Castle Drogo to Salonika’ project.