Director Danny Boyle will be at the helm of a national Armistice Day project, in which Roker Beach will play a starring role.
Sunderland has been chosen as one of only a handful of cities and towns across the country to take part in Pages of the Sea, Danny Boyle’s commission for 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day.
The Beach and Trainspotting director, who also produced the London Olympics spectacular opening ceremony, has teamed up with Sunderland Culture for Wearside’s role in the national act of remembrance - and they want you to get involved too.
On, November 11 2018, the public is invited to gather on Roker Beach as part of an informal, nationwide gesture of remembrance for the men and women who left their home shores during the First World War.
Each event involves the drawing of a large-scale portrait of a casualty from the First World War, designed by sand artists Sand In Your Eye, which will be washed away as the tide comes in.
In addition, the public will be asked to join in by creating silhouettes of people in the sand, remembering the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the conflict.
Poet Carol Ann Duffy has been invited by Danny to write a new poem, which will be read by individuals, families and communities as they gather on beaches on November 11. Copies of the poem will be available at the beaches around the UK for those who wish to come together or to offer their own personal contribution.
Danny Boyle said: “Beaches are truly public spaces, where nobody rules other than the tide. They seem the perfect place to gather and say a final goodbye and thank you to those whose lives were taken or forever changed by the First World War. I’m inviting people to watch as the faces of
the fallen are etched in the sand, and for communities to come together to remember the sacrifices that were made.”
The public is also invited to explore an online gallery of portraits of some of the men and women who served in the First World War, and select someone to say a personal goodbye to either via social media or as they gather in person on beaches.
The images are drawn from the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War which aims to tell eight million stories of those who served from Britain and the Commonwealth. Visitors to the website can also add portraits of members of their family or community who contributed to the First World War.
Keith Merrin, chief executive of Sunderland Culture, said: “We’re delighted Sunderland has been chosen to play a key role in such an important event
to commemorate the centenary of the ending of the First World War. Sunderland is known throughout the country for its Remembrance Sunday service – the biggest outside of London – so I’m sure the city will support Pages of the Sea which will be a moving and memorable tribute to those who laid down their lives in what was meant to be the War to End All Wars.
“We’ll be unveiling more details of the event and how people can get involved in the project over the coming days and weeks.”
Jenny Waldman, director of 14-18 NOW, said: “Danny Boyle has created a beautiful, poetic artwork that invites people across the UK to participate in a new nationwide gesture of remembrance on the centenary of Armistice Day.”