Today is Remembrance Day. So we decided to interview folk singer and radio presenter, Lester Simpson, creator of Standing in Line, a poignant production about the effects of The Great War.
Why did you decide to write Standing in Line?
The show was originally written for the 2000 Peace Concerts, Passendale. My great uncle, Albert Scrimshaw, died at Passendale leaving behind a widow Annie, who lived in Derbyshire until her death in the 1970′s. We actually debuted the show for the first time in Passendale Church back in 2000.
I only discovered the story of Albert after a visit to Belgium. All those graves have a story. By telling Albert’s story, in a way you tell all of them.
What did you learn about your great uncle?
Albert had no children. He was 32 years old, born in Eastwell, Nottinghamshire. He was latterly a butler before becoming a farm worker. We didn’t really uncover anything personal about him, so we have to speculate about how he felt about the war. But his sister, Nora, was very disturbed by his death and lived a solitary life in Eastwell.
Why did you feel it was important to tell his story?
I think his death somehow impacts on me and my music. It was important to tell the story to point out the horror and futility of it all. Telling it through my music helped make it concise and focused. The response to the show, which has now been running for fifteen years, has been very positive.
Standing in Line is a story of the Great War told in songs, readings and images by Lester Simpson, Nigel Corbett and Mike Bettison. There are two more shows this season;
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