As international attention focuses on the 100th anniversary of the bloodiest and longest battle in human history, the Lake District is presenting an extraordinary promenade performance dedicated to World War One aviation heroes.
Flight by The Geraldine Pilgrim Performance Company - running alongside commemorations for the start of the Battle of the Somme - is set to be unveiled in a four-day moment in time at historic Brockhole on Windermere, starting Thursday (July 7).
Featuring local organisations and a cast of around 100, anticipation is mounting for the Lakes Alive project, supported by the Arts Council and 14-18 NOW, organisers of the acclaimed Tower of London poppy installation.
Produced by renowned director, designer and installation artist, Geraldine Pilgrim, Flight is an evocative promenade performance charting the rise of airborne action amid the stunning setting of the famous arts and crafts house and gardens.
According to Lakes Alive artistic director, Sarah Allen, the production captures the ‘beauty, power and drama of flight in all its forms’, with an hour-long journey through the evolution of flight.
She added: “Revealed over a series of installations animated with performances is Brockhole’s compelling past, a rich history of Cumbrian aviation, its airmen and those they left behind.
“This is a poignant tribute to a time and place and is expected to bring emotional and enthusiastic responses. This is a first for us and audiences will not have seen anything like it before. It’s a unique and amazing experience – for everyone, those taking part and watching.”
Artistic Director, Geraldine Pilgrim, explained young airmen and those they left behind were at the heart of Flight; people looking up to an empty sky for loved ones to return. Waiting and waiting because so many did not come back.
She said: “The Royal Flying Corps was known as the ‘suicide club’, with new pilots, often in their teens, lasting on average just 11 days from arrival on the front to death. I thought of the Cumbrian landscape dreaming of missing airmen, realising they would never return.”
14-18 NOW organisers have described Flight as a highlight of their widespread programme of arts experiences running over four years, to coincide with centenaries of a war which engulfed Europe, Asia and Africa.
Among those taking part are Windermere’s RAF cadets and croquet clubs, Burneside brass band, Barrow’s Ashton theatre group, students from the University of Cumbria and the combined force of many volunteer performers from across Cumbria.
Flight takes off with a series of evening journeys from July 7 to 10, but the installations can be seen throughout the house and grounds until July 17.
See what Geraldine Pilgrim says about her production and book tickets at: www.lakesalive.co.uk