Recovery & Wellbeing through the Arts
Bravo 22 Company is The Royal British Legion's Recovery through Theatre Programme. Now running a new project, Bravo 22 Company and the Legion, in partnership with Theatre Royal Plymouth, are calling on the Plymouth Armed Forces Community to get involved in their latest show.
Members of the Plymouth Armed Forces Community (AFC) are invited to participate directly in The Plymouth Legacy Project - the creation, production and performance of a one-act play based on their own stories. The play will be performed on The Lyric stage at Theatre Royal Plymouth in December 2015.
Along with acting roles, participants will have the opportunity to take a role backstage and receive technical training from LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art), in stage management, lighting or sound.
The Plymouth Legacy Project is open to all wounded, injured and sick Service personnel along with veterans, Reservists and Service family members (over 18) based in the area – there is no need for any previous experience!
Key partners of the project include LAMDA, the Ministry of Defence and local theatres, councils, veteran groups, local businesses and schools.
History of the programme
The recovery through Theatre Programme began in 2011 when the Legion, Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust and the Ministry of Defence brought together 30 wounded, injured and sick Service personnel to write, produce and perform their own play on the West End stage.
The programme aimed to give Service people and veterans new skills and experiences while improving confidence, self-awareness and motivation to support an individual’s recovery and the transition into civilian life. Some of the company have continued to work in the theatre industry.
Called the Bravo 22 Company, their debut piece was The Two Worlds of Charlie F, a new play based on their experiences in conflict and recovery, overseen by Trevor Nunn CBE. The cast and crew of Bravo 22, aged between 20 and 52, presented two performances of Charlie F in January 2012. Members of the company were involved in creating, performing, producing, directing, designing, constructing and lighting the play.
The company received standing ovations for their performances from packed houses. See the opening night of Charlie F at Theatre Royal Haymarket in January 2012 below.
The road to success
From the great response to the play, Bravo 22 Company toured the UK with Charlie F in 2012, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and won the prestigious Amnesty International Award for Freedom of Expression.
A documentary commissioned by Alan Yentob and made by UpperCut Films looked at the process of creating and staging Charlie F. Called Theatre of War, it was first shown on BBC1's Imagine programme and was nominated for The Grierson Documentary Awards.
In 2014, a new production company, The Charlie F Project (UK) Ltd, took Charlie F back on tour including many of the original participants. The tour used public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and supported the Legion by raising funds at each performance. It was performed by medically discharged military personnel, as well as professional actors.
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre was one of the locations for this tour and due to its impact and reaction, the Bravo 22 concept was extended to create the Buckinghamshire Legacy Project.
Buckinghamshire Legacy Project 2015
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, the Legion and Buckinghamshire Armed Forces Community Covenant began the first regional project in November 2014.
A new play Contact was written by Roz Wyllie, based on the experiences of the 26 company members from Buckinghamshire's Armed Forces Community.
“I gained confidence – people are in the same boat as you, people with problems here, so that gives you confidence, knowing that you’re not alone.”Company member
The project culminated in four performances at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre in March 2015 and received great press and TV coverage.
“This is unique theatre. A truly powerful and moving production that brought me to tears. The cast, script and whole show was excellent.”Audience member
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