The Chilwell Munitions Tragedy

Over the weekend of July 4th and 5th 2015 we created a series of events based on the work of National Shell Filling Factory No. 6 in Chilwell and the explosion that occurred there on the 1st of July 1918 that killed 139 people. There were two exhibitions, one of which was on the site of the explosion at Chetwynd Barracks; two evenings of storytelling and film showings; and at its heart the performance of a forty five minute play in Beeston Square. With a cast of fifty performers and singers over the five performances, The V.C. Factory was watched by over 1500 people and was incredibly well received by both young and old.

This was a new challenge for the company in that we were performing a show in a relatively busy public space where we had both a sitting audience but also many people who were passing through. The challenge was to create something that would allow both audiences to engage with what was happening, and to find a way to allow the story to be clearly told. The solution was a mixture of live radio play and street theatre event; with the narrative being related through five key storytellers (who each had their own tale); whilst a Troupe of sixteen performers filled the space in various set pieces throughout the show. And accompanying all of this was a specially commissioned sound track and a live choral element.

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