Imagine a Cornish village whose men all came home from the trenches. Imagine a war memorial honouring the living, not the dead. Imagine a place symbolising hope amid horror.
Welcome to Herodsfoot in East Cornwall. Every one of the community’s 13 men who went to war came home, and their names are recorded in stone on the village green.
Through immersive drama, a live brass band and contemporary dance, Third Light tells the moving story of one of Britain’s 53 “thankful villages” – and the only one in Cornwall.
The show was conceived and written by Simon Parker, who said: “You’d think, after a hundred years, all the stories of the First World War would had been told – but it’s surprising how few people know about this ‘thankful’ or ‘blessed’ village.”
First staged at Sterts Theatre in 2014, Third Light played to sell-out audiences.
The play’s author, whose previous productions include Gonamena, Seven Stars, A Star On The Mizzen, and The Illegible Bachelor, said: “My grandfathers both served in France during the First World War, so I was always interested in what they went through. One was gassed, the other suffered a serious leg wound, and although they survived the conflict, when so many didn’t, the miseries they experienced must have been terrible. Their survival was largely a matter of luck – and it is that theme of luck and fortune that runs through Third Light.
“One of my grandfathers joined up at the very beginning of the war as a bugler. He enlisted along with three boyhood friends – all of whom were killed. This left my grandfather asking ‘why me?’ for the rest of his long life – much as the men of Herodsfoot must have felt.”
Directed by Nicola Rosewarne, choreographed by Ben Dunks, designed by Meier Williams, and with the music of Sir Malcolm Arnold and Simon
Dobson played live by St Pinnock Brass Band and led by David Johnson, Third Light is performed by an ensemble of 70 professional and community actors and dancers. Bert and Buzz, the two old soldiers central to the narrative, who find themselves reluctantly having to face yet another Remembrance Day parade, are played by well-known Cornish actors, Charlie Barnecut and Iain Marshall.
Third Light is supported by Feast, Arts Council England, Falmouth University, Cornwall Council, Amata, and Scryfa. For tickets visit minack.com or call the box office on 01736 810181.
Third LightA unique view of the First World War is unveiled in Simon Parker’s play Third Light at The Minack