In partnership with Dartmoor Prison Museum and the Princetown History Society, young people from Moretonhampstead, Princetown and surrounding villages performed ‘All That Was Left Behind’ at Dartmoor Prison Museum on Saturday 14th November 2009 as part of MED Theatre’s ‘The War Prison at Princetown’ Project. The site-specific performance took place in the Prison Museum Barn on a wet and windy day in November, giving both the audience and the participants an atmospheric experience.
The performance (and accompanying film) explored the building of the iconic war prison, originally designed to house French and American prisoners from the Napoleonic War in 1815. Opening with a dramatic war dance, the intricate plot explored a tragic love story between two captured brothers and two Dartmoor sisters against the backdrop of a war-torn society. The play also explored the life of a French officer on parole in Moretonhampstead, complimented by a second performance at Moretonhampstead Parish Hall on Wednesday 9th December.
The young participants were responsible for all aspects of the project, including the research, costume design, props, music, filming, writing, directing, and choreography. Some participants also assisted MED Theatre’s education officer with school workshops, working with children from Princetown and Tavistock Primary to explore local heritage through drama and puppet making. The young people also recorded and edited a documentary about the process of the project to serve as a reminder of their achievements.
The presence of the Honorary French Consul at the final performance in Princetown highlighted both the quality and the cultural achievement of the young people’s performance. He said, “I would like to congratulate the cast for this very vivid performance. You could close your eyes and picture yourself two hundred years ago… a great great performance.”