Museum of Oxford to host panel to mark end of the First World War

Published: Friday, 9th November 2018

The Museum of Oxford is to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War and highlight the impact of the war on local people through hosting a panel discussion with local experts.

Remember Them - WW1 Panel Discussion will take place Tuesday 13 November 2018 at 7pm – 9pm in Oxford Town Hall and coincide with Armistice Day Centenary commemorations.

The free event will see local experts - Margaret Bonfiglioli, author of Full of Hope and Fear, Caroline Roaf, author of Trenches and Destruction: Letters from the Frontline 1915-1919, and researcher, Sue Smith (Conscientious Objectors and the Oxfordshire Military Service Tribunals in 1916, (MA Dissertation) - come together to explore and discuss Oxford’s role in the First World War and the impact of the conflict on the city and its inhabitants.

The panel will be facilitated by Jeremy Allen, host of Oxford Lives, and will be broadcast as part of the ongoing Oxford Lives series. The podcast, which is produced by Graeme Fry explores the stories of local residents in Oxford.

The event will also see performances and monologues from Oxford-based Under Construction theatre performing monologues and scenes from While They’re Away: The Story of a City At War. The play draws upon the authentic accounts of life at the home front in First World War Oxford and is written by Jeremy Allen.

This year (2018) marks the centenary since the armistice treaty was signed, the First World War ended.

Councillor Mary Clarkson, Board Member for Culture and City Centre, said: “With this year marking the centenary of the end of the First World War it is important that we remember and pay our respects to all those affected by the war and the impact that it had on our city and its residents.

“This event at the Town Hall will be a fascinating discussion and demonstration in to the contribution that Oxford made to the war effort. The discussion with the local experts on the panel will provide us with an invaluable insight in to life during the war, and the performances from Under Construction theatre will further help to bring the stories of real people in to the room.

“We are also very excited that the discussion from the event will be broadcast on the Oxford Lives podcast series which will share the experiences of those affected by the war.”

Jeremy Allen, host of Oxford Lives podcast, and writer of ‘While They're Away’ said: “I was inspired to write a play about Oxford's involvement in the conflict (While They're Away), partially by a photograph of wounded soldiers being wheeled down the High Street. I was struck by how similar it all looked; take away the uniforms and lack of automobiles and it didn't seem much different - it helped me envisage the world I was writing about simply because on many levels it had changed so little.

“The project introduced me to several local experts on the subject and to mark The Centenary of the Armistice, we have asked three of them to appear in a panel discussion on Oxford's role in The Great War, each with their own unique historical perspective.

“The ‘Oxford Lives’ podcast is a series of regular interviews with local personalities, each of whom has made a unique contribution to the life and vibrancy of our city. From the outset, we wanted to include a number of live events and an obvious candidate for our first venture was The Centenary Armistice.

“The Town Hall seemed an apt location, given its use as a military hospital ward and the Museum of Oxford a fitting partner, considering they partnered the original project. We are hugely excited about this event and hope it will prove a gratifying conclusion to The Centenary commemorations.”

Lizzy McBain, Artistic Director at Under Construction Theatre, said: “UnderConstruction will be bringing back some of the characters from our 2015 production, While They’re Away, a play drawn from research in to what life was like in Oxford during WW1 for a number of notable and everyday people.
“The stories we encountered during research were enlightening and important, and we are delighted to have chance to share some them again, alongside a panel discussion.”

Listen to the Oxford Lives podcast here.