Northampton Museum and Royal & Derngate given £73,000 lottery grant for World War one commemoration

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Leading cultural venues in Northampton have been given the green light to stage an 18 month project commemorating World War One – after being awarded £73,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery and Royal & Derngate have secured the grant to stage ‘Conflict and Community – Northampton’s Response to the First World War’.

The project will be the first time the two venues have worked together and is set to feature an ‘assortment of arts and cultural events’ focusing on Northampton during the 1914 to 1918 conflict.

Royal & Derngate’s associate director Dani Parr, said: “It’s exciting to be working closely with Northampton Museum and Art Gallery on a really exciting and innovative programme of events and activities.

“We’ll be getting the community involved in so many ways, working with people of all ages, to explore how the First World War affected the lives of the people in Northamptonshire and make sure those memories live on.”

Key themes to be explored are the home front, the role of women including women’s liberation and the vote, conscientious objectors, rationing, propaganda, civilian casualties and what life was like after the war finished.

The stories of local men who served our country will also be told - Many of whom served in the Northamptonshire Regiment and Northamptonshire Yeomanry.

Activities, set to run until mid-2015, begin this month including theatre productions and film screenings at Royal & Derngate, talks, workshops, ‘a big family day’ on 30 August, activity days, researching family history sessions and an exhibition opening at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery in August, dubbed A Shoe Maker Goes to War.

Royal & Derngate’s world premiere production of Regeneration based on Pat Barker’s WWI novel, will link to the exhibition and there will be special late night openings for audiences.

Northampton Borough Council cabinet member for community engagement Councillor Brandon Eldred (Con, East Hunsbury) said: “We have some wonderful events planned for 2014 to commemorate the war as well as other significant anniversaries for the town.

“It is great to get this lottery funding as this is a fantastic addition to what is already a packed programme.”

Vanessa Harbar, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, added: “This is an exciting project that will engage lots of local people and volunteers in telling Northampton’s story within the national commemoration of First World War centenary.”