Anticipation grows over Sunderland's tribute to Somme fallen

'It will be a very special day.'

Friday, 20th May 2016, 3:25 pm
Updated Friday, 20th May 2016, 4:41 pm
Filmmaker Esther Johnson and creative producer Bob Stanley on Sunderland's World War 1 project Asunder at Pallion Engineering

Bob Stanley is in no doubt about how moving Sunderland’s tribute to those who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme will be.

‘Asunder’ will see some of the region’s most notable contemporary and classical musicians - Field Music, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Warm Digits - perform a live score to a moving film to mark the milestone.

Asunder, which premieres at Sunderland Empire in July, will tell a powerful story of the city’s involvement in one of the most traumatic battles in military history through largely unknown personal experiences.

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Music journalist - and St Etienne keyboardist – Bob is creative director on the project and was on Wearside to see how things are ghoing.

The film’s score will be performed live when it is show, but it will also be available on DVD.

“We will be recording the sound track during rehearsals so we can release it as a film,” said Bob.

“It will be a very special day seeing the film with music performed live but it will still be possible to see it afterwards, which I think is very important.”

Bob believes the project will have a resonance beyond Wearside: “It is going to be based in the North East, and Sunderland in particular, but it will be relevant to any town in Britain,” he said.

Bob joined director Esther Johnson at Pallion Engineering’s riverside yard, which has been used as a location in the film.

“This place is amazing,” he said.

“We did think about screening the film here but it would have been too expensive.”

Esther has been delighted with the reaction from members of the public to the filming.

“It has gone fantastically,” she said.

“People have been really enthusiastic - they are very welcoming and excited about the project.

“Everywhere that I have gone, people have been asking me about it.”

Asunder will premiere at the Empire on July 10,before touring at selected venues. To book tickets visit or call the box office on 0844 871 3022.