Marlowe Theatre stages act of remembrance with Return of The Unknown

Return Of The Unknown is a major new site-specific work to mark the centenary of the Armistice that will take place at Dover Marine Station this November.

This extraordinary space was, in 1920, the scene of the homecoming for the unidentified soldier of the Great War.

The Unknown Warrrior passed through the port on his way to Westminster Abbey, where he became an integral part of our national identity.

Image Tim Stubbings.

The railway terminal, on Dover’s western docks, was also where many soldiers left British soil for the First World War and where 1.26 million wounded soldiers returned.

Drama, music, dance and digital art will combine to create an immersive theatrical experience, produced by Marlowe Theatre, and performed by leading professional artists and a 400-strong community company from across Kent.

It looks at the world of remembrance and will tell the stories, known and unknown, of the people of the region.

Marlowe patron, Michael Morpurgo, who is supporting The Return Of The Unknown, said: “How should we remember? We can’t. They are all gone.

“All we can remember is what they have done, and the peace they gave us, a peace we must hold dear. All we can do is sing the anthem; tell the story.”

Sir Michael said it was “wonderful” that The Marlowe is continuing to tell the story with the production in a place “with so many stories to tell”.

Show producer Fiona Banks said: “Return Of The Unknown is a unique opportunity to tell this extraordinary story in the place where our rituals of remembrance began.

“The space resonates with memories of events past.

“Our creative team are relishing the challenge of working with our local communities to uncover stories known and forgotten – creating a piece of event theatre that looks to the past as an inspiration for the next 100 years of remembrance.”

Return Of The Unknown is written by James Baldwin, The Marlowe’s literary associate, and directed by Matt Costain, with musical direction by Anna Pool.

The people of Kent are being asked to submit stories and photos – emailed to Fiona.banks@marlowetheatre.com – of their ancestors who fought in the First World War for an exhibition as part of the production, or to write poems.

Return Of The Unknown is at Dover Marine Station from November 8 – 11.

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