Danny Boyle’s ‘Pages of the Sea’ marks Armistice Day in Blackpool

Barry Parkinson posted on Nov 2 2018

Danny Boyle in the Press Room at the 81st Annual Academy Awards. Kodak Theatre, Hollywood, CA. 02-22-09

Danny Boyle in the Press Room at the 81st Annual Academy Awards. Kodak Theatre, Hollywood, CA. 02-22-09

Blackpool will be part of Pages of the Sea, Danny Boyle’s commission for 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day.

On 11th November 2018, the public is invited to gather on beaches across the UK for an informal, nationwide gesture of remembrance for the men and women who left their home shores during the First World War.

Millions of people served in the First World War and many left from beaches around the UK. VisitBlackpool will be leading events at Blackpool Beach, by the Cenotaph on Sunday 11th November. Each event centres around the drawing of a large-scale portrait of a casualty from the First World War, designed by sand artists Sand In Your Eye, which will be washed away as the tide comes in. In addition, the public will be asked to join in by creating silhouettes of people in the sand, remembering the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the conflict.

Poet Carol Ann Duffy has been invited by Boyle to write a new poem, which will be read by individuals, families and communities as they gather on beaches. Copies of the poem are available online and will be available at the beaches around the UK for those who wish to come together or to offer their own personal contribution.

Danny Boyle said ‘Beaches are truly public spaces, where nobody rules other than the tide. They seem the perfect place to gather and say goodbye and thank you to those whose lives were taken or forever changed by the First World War. I’m inviting people to watch as the faces of the fallen are etched in the sand, and for communities to come together to remember the sacrifices that were made.’

The public is also invited to explore an online gallery of portraits of some of the men and women who served in the First World War, and select someone to say a personal goodbye to either via social media or as they gather in person on beaches on 11th November. Visitors to the website can also add portraits of members of their family or community who contributed to the First World War. These will be added to Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War, a permanent digital memorial to those who live through and fought in the First World War.

Cllr Chris Ryan, Armed Forces champion for Blackpool Council, said ‘We are honoured to be taking part in such an evocative tribute to those who lost their lives in the war. Blackpool has a strong emotional bond with Britain’s armed forces and we hope that people will come along to witness this poignant act of remembrance.’

Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said ‘Danny Boyle has created a beautiful, poetic artwork that invites people across the UK to participate in a new nationwide gesture of remembrance on the centenary of Armistice Day. It is a fitting thank you and farewell to all of those who served and were affected by the First World War. I would like to thank Danny Boyle, Carol Ann Duffy and all our partners and funders for their help in realising this ambitious project.’

The work is commissioned and produced by 14-18 NOW, and is the culmination of the five-year programme of arts commissions marking the First World War centenary. It is delivered with partner organisations across the UK: National Trust; Activate Performing Arts; Creative Foundation; Eden Project; National Theatre Scotland; Nerve Centre; Sunderland Culture; Taliesin.  The work is in association with Aberystwyth Arts Centre; The Grand Theatre of Lemmings; Magna Vitae; MOSTYN; SeaChange Arts; Swansea Council; Swansea University; Theatre Orchard; and VisitBlackpool.

Supported by The National Lottery and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

With additional support from Backstage Trust, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) and National Rail.

The public can see which beaches are taking part by visiting www.pagesofthesea.org.uk