New stories brought to life by University and International Bomber Command Centre partnership

16 June 2022

Written by: CThomas

Stories from veterans and survivors of World War II are being showcased at a new exhibition at the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC).

Stories from veterans and survivors of World War II are being showcased at a new exhibition at the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC).

The Centre has partnered with the University of Lincoln, UK, on the exhibition to create additional filmed performances which bring the stories of those who survived the war to life.

Funded by the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, the performances are based on interviews recorded with veterans for the IBCC Digital Archive.

Scripts were taken from the interviews with veterans and survivors of the bombing war to reflect the Centre’s ethos of recognition, remembrance, and reconciliation.

The stories being told include the mother of an airman reading a letter from her son, a young girl evacuee, a boy who lived at the end of a runway, and an ARP Warden. RAF stories include a member of the Guinea Pig Club with badly burned hands, a Member of Air Sea Rescue, a WAAF Meteorological Officer, a Nigeran Navigator, and a West Indian Motor Transport Driver.

Casting and direction for the exhibition has been overseen by Rachel Baynton and Andrew Westerside from the University of Lincoln’s School of Fine and Performing Arts (LSFPA), and the monologues were filmed and edited at the University’s School of Film and Media by a team including Chris Hainstock and Jack Shelbourn. Dan Ellin from the IBCC Digital Archive has served as the historical consultant, and the costumes, uniforms and kit were sourced from Angels Costumes.

The roles were cast with a mixture of professional, amateur and student actors. The exception was Anthony Ekoja who had not acted before. However, as a Nigerian Air Force Officer Cadet at RAF Cranwell he was just right for the part of Bomber Command Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, Akin Shenbanjo.

Nicky van der Drift, Chief Executive of the International Bomber Command Centre, said: “The IBCC has always focussed on presenting an Orchestra of Voices to tell the story of Bomber Command. Inclusivity is at the heart of what we do. These new films, combined with the original 16 films, strengthen that message by telling a range of perspectives from people with a range of nationalities and backgrounds.”

Dr. Andrew Westerside, IBCC Project Lead and Head of School at Lincoln School of Fine and Performing Arts, said: “We’re incredibly proud of this new batch of contributions to the IBCC exhibition space, working with a truly diverse cast of performers to bring these oral histories to life. LSFPA has been working with the IBCC since 2015 on both live and recorded performance, and we’re honoured to be able to play a part in the journey of this important national centre.”

Rachel Baynton, Senior Lecturer and Creative Engagement Producer for LSFPA, added:

“It’s been fantastic to work with the IBCC again – especially for our students and graduates who have worked alongside professionals to bring these important historical stories and lives to light.

“Students were employed as performers and as project assistants across all aspects of the production. They’ve had the opportunity to apply their skills and talent to a project that has international impact and significance, one that forms an important part of the award-winning permanent exhibition at the IBCC.”

The new exhibition was officially launched on June 9, 2022 and is based in The Chadwick Centre at the IBCC. The monologues can be seen on the six-foot-tall screens in the IBCC exhibition.