Dartmoor, Devon and World War Two (2019-2021)

the impact of World War Two on rural Devon Lives

Our project DARTMOOR, DEVON AND WORLD WAR TWO began in November 2019 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War. In an effort to preserve precious heritage, in the form of the memories and first-hand experiences of the local wartime generation, this project will offer the opportunity for younger members of rural Devon communities to carry out research and oral history interviews that can be used in the creation of various creative outputs. 

MED Theatre are proud to have been awarded a National Lottery Grant for Heritage for this young people’s and community project, with thanks to all players of the National Lottery for making this possible.

COMMUNITY PLAY

MED Theatre’s 2021 community play is also an output of this project and will explore one community’s experiences during the war and how it impacted their relationships with one another and the rural area in which they lived.

'THE HARDINGS' - YOUNG PEOPLE'S PLAY

As part of this project, MED Theatre have brought together a group of young people who live in the Dartmoor and Devon area to produce an original performance that can share some of the research and stories we have gathered.

Performances of this play, ‘The Hardings’ will take place on Saturday 28th November, 2020 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm

 

You can keep updated with the progress of Dartmoor, Devon and World War Two by listening to our podcast, created on a monthly basis by the young people steering the research elements.

The group have been devising, writing and rehearsing a play inspired by the true stories of people who lived in Devon during the war. Listen now to find out how they are finding the process and for sneak previews of the script!

RESEARCH AND ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEWS

RESEARCH TOPICS

The following topics are key to the research phase of this project, which will be available on this page in the coming months:

  • Interruptions to normal life
  • Evacuees and seeking safety on Dartmoor
  • Land use, agriculture and Dartmoor as a training ground
  • Life in rural Devon after the war

ORAL HISTORY

MED Theatre will be carrying out oral history interviews and story collections over the coming months. Please let us know if you or a friend or family member have any stories or memories you would like to share with us. 

RESEARCH SESSION WITH DR. TOM GREEVES

On Tuesday 14th January MED Theatre’s young company, Wild Nights, had a visit from local historian Tom Greeves. The young people learnt about local soldier training, both of English and American troops, about the methods of getting groceries to local farms, about evacuees coming to the area and many other topics. You can listen to their monthly podcast, coming soon for the months of January and February, to hear more.

VE DAY IN DEVON - 75th ANNIVERSARY

On 8th May 2020 we celebrated the 75th Anniversary of VE Day!

Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, celebrations all over the country were no longer able to take place. As part of our Inspired By… online platform we wanted to celebrate this day in true MED style!

Our online drama groups picked up their pens and wrote poetic phrases using VE Day as their stimulus. From our homes we have put these together into one celebratory video.

Watch and enjoy this selection of original poetry form MED Theatre’s staff and young participants.

project outputs and Timeline

ONGOING: Regular Podcast Episodes Released for public download. (See above.) 

Nov ’19 – Feb ’20: Research trips and training opportunities for young people

Jan – Dec 2020: Oral History Interviews – to be held wth local war veterans and those who were present in rural Devon during and in the aftermath of World War Two.

 

Oct ’20 – April ’21: Two-hander play toured to Devon schools, education centres, residential homes and day-centres etc.

Nov 2020: Young People’s Production.

Feb 2021: Young People’s Residential – recording of an audio play from a Dartmoor residential centre.

March 2021: Community Play Tour across Devon