Photo courtesy of Clive Barda

Trench Brothers Project: Focuses on the role of ethnic minority soldiers in WWI

Posted on on 19 February 2016
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Helen Kelly, the Projects Coordinator at HMDT Music has sent Centenary News the following update on their project: Trench Brothers.

To mark the Battle of the Somme, HMDT Music’s cross-curricular arts project, Trench Brothers, which focuses on the role of ethnic minority soldiers, is being offered to primary schools in 2016.

The project has had a fantastic reception from the 20 schools that have taken part so far, and has reached over 1300 children:

Wonderful experience and would do it again in a heartbeat. A very fulfilling and interesting project to be part of. Morningside Primary School.

Students have a deeper understanding of how the war affected people on different levels. The project is a fine example of true cross curricular learning. Berger Primary School.

Delivered in partnership with both the National Army Museum and the Little Angel Theatre, Trench Brothers features a new work by composers Julian Joseph and Richard Taylor, set to a libretto by Tertia Sefton-Green.

Alongside work with a specially created online Education Zone offering 90 cross-curricular lesson plans and activities, students receive an artefacts handling session and a visit from a costumed interpreter soldier before making their own forces of Trench Brother puppets.

Following work with a research toolkit to explore the life of a specific Indian Army, British West Indies or black British soldier, students write a Letter Home from their soldier, before setting it to music in a composer-led workshop.

Trench Brothers culminates in each school with a fully-staged performance of the music theatre work and the new Letter Songs, performed by a professional artistic team and participating students with their puppets.

Short Documentary

A short documentary, featuring Colvestone Primary School and interviews with jazz singer Cleveland Watkiss, who plays Norman Manley, and HMDT Music’s Creative Director, Tertia Sefton-Green.

Watch the film here.

Video by Primo, courtesy of HMDT Music

Photos courtesy of Clive Barda 

To find out more about the project or to sign your school up to take part, visit Trench Brothers, or email