News Release

Voices of the Great War


A committee was formed to discuss ways to commemorate the centenary anniversary of the Armistice of World War 1. As early as 2015 leaders gathered from public affairs and also invited members from artistic teams who had been previously involved in church productions. They were able to discuss how the Church could help the saints honour this special Remembrance Day, and the fallen who gave their lives 100 years ago.

Under inspired direction from those initial discussions, a creative team was tasked with designing a nationwide commemoration campaign that would ultimately involve 11 days of service with quotes and videos to share across social media. As the campaign’s culminating event, a performance was planned to help British saints unite together and learn from stories and messages.

After three years of collaboration involving historical research, scriptwriting, video production, musical composition, and technical design. It was realised that a full production of “Voices of the Great War”, as the production came to be called, would be performed live, from London’s Hyde Park chapel on Remembrance Day, Sunday 11, exactly a century to the day since the Armistice of WWI. In preparation of the live theatrical presentation, an intensive weekend rehearsal workshop took place in Birmingham, where cast were generously hosted by local saints.

The final scripted scenes were taken directly from letters and journals, and original musical arrangements of beloved music from the era. Hours upon hours, and a great deal of prayer were dedicated searching and selecting the right content. In the end, the presentation remembered the experiences of the soldiers, the nurses, the women at home, and even the children. The script shared timeless tales of families, faith, and duty featuring characters and events during the Great War of 1914-1918. There was also a clear message of hope and of families being reunited in the next life through Jesus Christ, including the following scripture from Alma that “the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, ...are taken home to that God who gave them life (sic).” Materials were also made available to other congregations across Great Britain to use or adapt to commemorate as best suited local needs.

In November, Participants gathered to London just four days before the final performance, being hosted by members of the Hyde Park Stake. The chapel’s cultural hall was transformed into a bustling live theatre and filming studio for the event. Cast, choir, and musicians came from all over the UK, Ireland and elsewhere, volunteering time and talents to bring the stories to life. One of the volunteer musicians was a friend from the Royal Military School of Music and was happy to donate her time to play the cornet, adding to the atmosphere of the performance.

Other actors, singers, and musicians came from Glasgow, Chorley, Manchester, Nottingham, Lichfield, Chester, Birmingham, Staines, Canterbury, Poole, Chester, Bristol, Dublin, Reading, and Hyde Park Stakes, and one cast member came all the way from America. Altogether, there were 30 actors (including children), a 30-strong choir, 4 live musicians, and various others supporting with costuming, medical, and musical and artistic direction. The final production also featured a duo of dancers, depicting some of the aspects of war that could not be shared through words and music alone.

The performance would not have been what it was without the generous support of lighting, sound, and broadcast teams. With very little time, these professional crews quickly caught the vision and worked tirelessly to achieve the aims of the production. Many other miracles were witnessed both on and off stage. The costuming team was able to create wonderful costumes as well as source several soldier uniforms kindly loaned from the Old Forge Wartime House Kent, Goodwood Revival, and Bankfield Museum in Halifax, and other costume pieces were leant to the cast. Eventually, the costumers found the exact number of authentic military uniforms that were needed, and they all fit just right without alterations.

In order to welcome as many audience members as possible to a live performance, it was decided to open Saturday’s dress rehearsal. Both dress rehearsal and final performance had full audiences, which offered standing ovations. Like the participants, audience came from all over the UK, as well as from the surrounding stakes. There were also various dignitaries and interfaith leaders in attendance. There was also the option for people to watch via facebook live in their homes or within local LDS churches. People tuned in from places such as Australia, China, India, Vietnam, Germany, Spain, Canada and the USA. The Facebook broadcast was managed by a dedicated team who run the websites and media for the church.

The video has been clicked on and watched over 18,000 times since then and is still available online to watch below:


After the performances, several audience members from the Hyde Park performance and also via the live feed conversations, said that they now felt prompted to go and search their family trees to find out the names of their war dead. Cast and choir members were so moved by the stories in the script that they have planned trips to France so they can be amongst the sites mentioned in the script and pay respects at the gravesides of the fallen.

At the end of the night, after all had gone home, it was felt that the final resting place for the wreaths used to depict the funeral of the unknown British warrior should be laid reverently and quietly at the World War 1 London cenotaph. A few from the leadership team placed the beautiful wreaths and took a moment to reflect upon the many ways in which we are connected to those whom have gone before us and what a privilege it was for all of those involved to have been able to give our fallen dead a voice again.

Lest we forget - We will remember them.

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