Showcasing Great War’s art

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During July and August Eastbourne’s Under Ground Theatre is hosting a number of events and exhibits to mark the anniversary of World War One.

The first is an art exhibition called Images of World War One and will complement the war-themed month in July.

On display will be photographs, paintings and illustrative works from the period of World War One, which will give a varied aesthetic view of war times on a national and local level.

Eastbourne residents have kindly brought in their much-treasured photographs of relatives who served in the conflict, and the UGT has carefully scanned and displayed them for all to see and experience.

These pictures display the reality of war on an individual level and enable the viewer to feel a personal and local connection to World War One.

The exhibition will also include the illustrative works of postcard artist Donald McGill whose cartoons bring charm and humour to dark times.

Teresa Currie, a local artist, will also display several paintings of her relatives who fought in the war.

This varied and interesting exhibition will be thought provoking and heart felt and has been brought together with the help of many different contributors.

A remarkable new film in which people living in the Eastbourne area tell of their families’ World War One memories is also now being shown at the town’s Under Ground Theatre.

Eastbourne Remembers consists almost exclusively of interviews with local people who responded to an appeal in the press by the UGT.

It includes tales of extraordinary heroism – such as that demonstrated on the Western Front by John James Crowe, who was presented with the Victoria Cross in the field by King George V.

There are stories of great sadness, such as that of the two brothers who died in different battles, or of the British submarine lost with all hands when it was rammed by another British vessel whose crew believed they were sinking a German U-boat. And there are chilling details of daily life in the trenches: the rats, the mud so deep that the horses had to be dug out every morning, the lice infesting every uniform – as well as the ever-present threat of attack and death.

And there is the occasional hint of humanity winning through against the odds - such as the football matches between the two side at Christmas 1914, and the British POW who struck up a friendship with a German guard.

The film lasts sixty-five minutes, and will be shown continuously throughout July and August during Friday daytime and Saturday afternoons – whenever there is nothing else happening in the auditorium.

Eastbourne Remembers was put together by two of the volunteers who run the theatre, as part of its WWI Season, which includes several illustrated presentations, a specially commissioned musical play, and two mornings of music from the period, Already underway in the foyer and the coffee-bar is a WWI exhibition of paintings, cartoons and photographs – including many of the men and women whose stories are told in “Eastbourne Remembers”.