On 1 July 2016, thousands of volunteers took part in a modern memorial to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. ‘we’re here because we’re here’ was a UK-wide event commissioned by 14-18 NOW, conceived and created by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller in collaboration with Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre. Produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the National Theatre, in collaboration with 26 organisations.
Arguably one of the most moving projects I have ever been involved with, this emotive piece of live art, at national scale, took me on the most incredible journey.
Taking responsibility for the recruitment and training of volunteers for a variety of performance and backstage roles in the Wyre and Fylde area, the project was under the strictest of embargoes imaginable, ensuring that as the tribute took place on the 1st July 2016, it was a complete surprise to the entire nation as it simultaneously unfolded in the public spaces of villages, towns and cities across the entire country.
Understanding and keeping true to the vision of lead artist Jeremy Deller was fundamental to the success of the project. It was a complete honour to not only work as an Associate Director on a project led by such iconic, international talent, but also to pay tribute to the thousands of heroes who sacrificed their lives to protect their country.
Friday 1st July 2016 is a date that I will never, ever forget.
All photography credits – CJ Griffiths Photography