Unique performance gives voice to the lost diggers of Vignacourt


During the First World War a small French village opened their homes and their hearts to Australian troops, providing a location for rest and recuperation from the front.  This story will be brought to life this month in a unique and moving performance at the Redland Performing Arts Centre.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the Out of the Attic performance would tell the story of photographs of Australian troops taken a century ago that were discovered in trunks in the attic of a house in a small village in northern France called Vignacourt.

“These century old photos are a unique treasure that provide an insight into the Australian war efforts and this performance will bring them alive once again, giving the soldiers a voice,” she said.

“Nine French students who have been touched by the story of these photos and what they represent will travel to Australia to tell their story.  They will meet with a number of relatives of the troops photographed before bringing the story to life on stage at RPAC on 19 July.

“Their journey has been a long and emotional one and this performance will share living history as the faces of the soldiers give silent testimony while Vignacourt’s young history tellers give them voice in an inspiring ongoing commemorative venture.”

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Redland City Arts, Culture and Innovation spokesperson Cr Paul Bishop said the performance would hold special significance for several local families whose relatives are featured in the photographs.

“A century ago the people of this small French village provided Australian troops with a place of respite from the war and now the story of these lost diggers will be told through a combination of on stage performance  and expert testimony,” he said.

“These old photos are a unique treasure providing insight into rarely seen aspects of troops’ during rest, recreation, rehabilitation and training behind the front line. This event will keep the soldiers’ individual stories alive,”

“The stories of those who fought in the First World War have been told for generations and this is a unique way for those stories to effectively be told by those who were there fighting.  This performance holds even greater significance in the lead up to the centenary of World War One.

“Another highlight will be an illustrated presentation by Otto Mellar of Oscans who digitized all 4,000 Thuillier photographic glass plates.”

There will also be performances from Redland City Band and ‘Sempre Voce’ Alumnus Choir of Gregory Terrace to complete this memorable afternoon at Redland Performing Arts Centre on Saturday 19th July at 2pm.  Tickets are $12.50 – $22 and can be booked via www.rpac.com.au or by calling the RPAC Box Office on 3829 8131.