A chronicle of the progress of the Great War as told in song, poetry, dance and narration by the Black Fox, a community group from Wheatley, and the Oxford Morris Men. The presentation emphasises the ties between the rural community of Wheatley and the city of Oxford. We are privileged to be able to perform this production in the magnificient space of the Wesley Memorial Church in Oxford.
Included in the performance are excerpts of interviews made in 1983 of villagers who were at the primary school in 1916. The cast includes descendants of these villagers. This is offset by the poetry of Siegried Sassoon who was hospitalised in New College, Edward Thomas and Philip Larkin. These poems have been set to music. Other songs are a mixture of original pieces from Mick Jones's many community plays and other familiar ones.
The links to Wheatley are demonstrated by a song originally performed in Wheatley in 1984 in the first production of The Soldiers Have Taken Our Horses Away. This song is now performed by singers who were then at Wheatley Primary School. One family in this production is represented by three generations.
The links to Oxford are shown through the Morris dancing representing Cecil Sharpe's demonstration side as they would have danced in 1914. Of this side of seven dancers five lost their lives during the Battle of the Somme, including the composer George Butterworth. His arrangement of The Banks of Green Willow is included in the performance. As the band shifts from music as originally scored for classical instruments to modern electric instruments so the morris dancers morph from representing an all male side of 1914 to a modern mixed side.
No admission charge, donations welcome. All profits to Oxford Cruse Bereavement Care.