What They Left Behind • 2016

WCT flyer front for facebook webSynopsis

As the bells of Wimborne Minster chime eight, young Harry meets a mysterious woman by the town war memorial on the Minster Green. So begins a journey back to 1916 and a glimpse into the life of the town and its people during the Great War.

About the production

The production was set in unusual locations around Wimborne town centre, and explored the lives of local people during World War One. Almost four hundred people attended six performances.

The show explored the legacy of objects and memories and their effect on people in Wimborne during the First World War, and how they connect with our lives today.

The production was developed from research and improvisations carried out by WCT over two years, and was influenced by objects and stories brought by people to two ‘Gathering Family Stories from WW1’ events, held by WCT and the Priest’s House Museum.

After the first scene on the Minster Green, the audience was divided into three groups and moved simultaneously to scenes set in four different locations: the Cornmarket, the Coles’ shop (in Priest’s House Museum), the museum garden, Church House and finally, they returned to the Minster Green.  Afterwards, audience members were encouraged to linger around the fire bowl to talk about issues raised in the production.

Over 70 people were involved in the production.

I was so impressed with the whole event; the cast, the story line, and not least the actual logistics involved in the production of what was a very moving, funny and thought provoking play. Many a large town or city would be extremely proud to claim this as their own, Wimborne has done it again, thank you all so much!
Councillor Sue Cook, Mayor of Wimborne

The whole performance was exceptionally powerful and very moving.  It had huge atmosphere and was incredibly poignant.

Moving around Wimborne, seeing so many people involved. Enjoying high quality performance and well informed research well used.

Took my emotions up, down and side to side.  I’m not normally a great fan of ‘serious’ theatre but this has certainly changed my views.  Enjoyed it from start to finish.

Fantastic music, some original, some familiar.  Contact with the era, the First World War, was brought vividly alive and made relevant to Wimborne.

Archive materials

The following items from What They Left Behind have been stored in our materials archive. Click here to view.

  1. Programme
  2. Poster
  3. Photos of rehearsals, performances, artists and actors
  4. Original Music – scores & lyrics of songs from the production by Gill Horitz from WCT and Karen Wimhurst, Musical Director
  5. Art Installations by AUB students and Exhibition
  6. Dada Gardens
  7. Radio Interview
  8. Reviews
  9.  Audience comments
  10. Videos – process and performance
  11. Developing the project – early workshops
  12. Professional artists and the AUB costume team
  13. Cast walkabouts – photos and press cuttings

Research Materials

The following items gathered as the production was developed have been stored in our research archive on World War One. Click here to view.

  1. Significant Objects
  2. Gathering Days
  3. Local Stories
  4. Wimborne soldiers from the town War Memorial
  5. Local war hospitals
  6. WCT visit to Flanders
  7. Local military connections
  8. Aspects of the First World War – the Post Office / Dorset Great Houses / the Women’s War
  9.  Local school log
  10. Psychological effects of war
  11. Wartime Recipes from the Win-the-War Cookery Book



This project was supported by Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts.  Thanks also to Wimborne BID.



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