Writing and printmaking workshops will complement a major event to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Film director Danny Boyle is producing Pages of the Sea, a national commission for 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day. On November 11, Remembrance Sunday, a giant sand portrait of a fallen Sunderland soldier will be created on Roker Beach and then washed away by the sand.
Members of the public will also be able to listen to a sonnet written for the occasion by the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
Two workshops will complement the Sunderland Pages of the Sea event.
The first is on Saturday (Nov 3) when artist Pui Lee will lead a free, hands-on, drop-in workshop creating printed portraits. The workshop will be held at National Glass Centre from noon to 4pm.
Writer Carol Cooke is leading a free creative writing workshop with a First World War theme at The Fire Station, High Street West, Sunderland, on Thursday, November 8 at 5pm.
“Families have stories passed down from grandparents and great grandparents about the Great War and we’d love to celebrate and share these stories. We’ll also be looking at the literature that came out of the horrific experiences endured by those who fought in the war, or who were affected by it,” explained Carol.
Helen Green, Head of Performance at Sunderland Culture, and Producer of the Sunderland Pages of the Sea event added: “We hope that hundreds of people will attend our Pages of the Sea event on November 11 – I’m sure it will be a moving and memorable occasion. But we also wanted local people to have the opportunity to respond artistically to the centenary of the Armistice.
“Our printmaking workshop will enable people to create their own portraits, perhaps similar to those being created for our Pages of the Sea event, while the writing workshop may give people the opportunity to respond to the horrors of the War, as Carol Ann Duffy has done.
“Both workshops are free and professionally led and we hope they’ll also be well attended.”
Pages of the Sea aims to be an informal, nationwide gesture of remembrance for the men and women who left their home shores during the First World War. Roker Beach is among a handful of beaches chosen nationally to host the event.
Each project centres on 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.
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 on November 11. The images are drawn from the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’ which aims to tell 8 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.
Pages of the Sea is commissioned and produced by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, and delivered with partner organisations across the UK with support from The National Lottery and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
The public can see which beaches are taking part by visiting www.pagesofthesea.org.uk