Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Lights out plea for war anniversary

Sir Edward Grey, left of Winston Churchill, made his "lamps out" remarks as war loomed

People across the country will be asked to turn off their lights to mark the 100th anniversary of the moment war was declared in 1914.

The project, called Lights Out, is inspired by Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey's remark at the outbreak of the First World War that: "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time."

It is part of a nationwide series of works commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of the conflict.

Other plans include a one-off Proms performance where t he work of war poets will be set to music, four specially-written songs by critically-acclaimed guitarist Richard Thompson and an online war memorial with contributions from members of the public.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: "Culture is part of the fabric of British society. Ensuring a cultural element flows throughout the centenary will be a vital part of our commemorations, particularly as a way of engaging young people and helping them make that connection with the past. The 14-18 NOW cultural programme will help all of us to pause in remembrance and to understand the resonance of the First World War today."

The late night prom at the Royal Albert Hall will see German composer Torsten Rasch and the Philharmonia Orchestra perform a 40-minute work featuring verse by writers including Robert Frost, Edward Thomas and Rupert Brooke.

The performance on August 4 will be followed by Lights Out where people will be invited to turn off their lights and replace them with a single light including specially-commissioned digital light works which will be available to download for free.

Other activities, being carried out from June to August, include a theatrical re-telling of the story of the Liverpool Pals - one of a number of regiments made up of men from specific areas - in the city's streets.

Two ships, one in dry dock in Liverpool and another on the Thames, will be painted in the style of the dazzle ships which were camouflaged with complex patterns of geometric shapes that made them difficult to track.

Project director Jenny Waldman said: "We are commissioning some of the world's leading artists to respond to the events of the First World War and the wider social political, cultural and scientific developments of the period. And to respond with a contemporary perspective - to explore the resonance of the First World War today. I am particularly delighted about the way artists have responded to the brief and the wonderful enthusiasm our cultural organisations have shown in their support for the programme."

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