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we're here because we're here nominated for National Lottery Award 2017

we're here because we're here
30 June 2017

We’re here because we’re here, the modern memorial created by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, has been nominated for a prestigious National Lottery Award. ‘We’re here because we’re here’ left a lasting impression on millions of people in the UK and humanised the great loss of life in the First World War.

Salisbury Playhouse was one of 26 organisations across the UK who collaborated on the project with 14-18 NOW – the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.

The public are invited to vote for the project, which is nominated for the “Best Heritage Project” award.

To vote please visit: http://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/project/were-here-because-were-here

A free exhibition at Salisbury Playhouse will document the project when it runs in the upstairs foyer areas of the Playhouse from Wednesday 4 October to Thursday 26 October.

We’re here because we’re here saw nearly 1,500 voluntary participants dressed in First World War uniform appear unexpectedly in locations across the UK. The work was experienced by over 30 million people. The participants who walked the streets were a reminder of the 19,240 men who were killed on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

The participants wore historically accurate uniforms, representing 15 of the regiments that suffered losses in the first day of the Battle. Participants did not speak, but handed out cards to members of the public with the name and regiment of the soldier they represented, and, where known, the age of the soldier when he died on 1 July 1916. The card also contained the hashtag #wearehere.

The soldiers visited over 900 sites across the UK, including train stations, car parks and shopping centres from Shetland to Plymouth. As well as having a profound and moving effect on the public, the work had a huge impact on the participants involved. These volunteers were men aged between 16-52, reflecting the ages of men who would have fought in the Somme.

They were not trained actors but came from a range of professions, including a sheep farmer, flight attendant, doctor, lawyer, social worker, shop assistant, portrait artist and GCSE student. They came together to rehearse in theatres across the UK over a month-long period in the run-up to the performance. Many of the men are still friends today.

14-18 NOW Director Jenny Waldman said: “I am delighted that this powerful artwork has been nominated for a National Lottery Award. I would like to thank the artists and creative team, the 26 theatres and hundreds of volunteers who made the event possible. The work was a moving tribute to the men who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme and had a profound impact on those who saw it.”

Salisbury Playhouse Associate Director Jo Newman said: “We were so proud to be part of this national memorial which brought so many people together to commemorate those who lost their lives and to help Wiltshire mark the anniversary of this significant military event.”

The National Lottery Awards are an annual search to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects. The winners are decided by public vote.

For press enquiries please contact Lucy Rouse, PR & Communications Officer (maternity cover), on 01722 345153 or press@salisburyplayhouse.com.


Notes to Editors

'We're here because we're here' was commissioned by 14-18 NOW, and conceived and created by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller in collaboration with Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre.

It was produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the National Theatre with the following partners: Lyric Theatre Belfast, Manchester Royal Exchange, National Theatre of Scotland, National Theatre Wales, Northern Stage, Playhouse Derry-Londonderry, Salisbury Playhouse, Sheffield Theatres and Theatre Royal Plymouth.

The project was supported by: Aberystwyth Arts Centre, The Belgrade Theatre, Bolton Octagon, Bristol Old Vic, Storyhouse, Left Coast, Leicester Curve, Nuffield Theatre, Oldham Coliseum, Pontio, Shetland Arts, Sutton Coldfield College BMet, The Artrix Bromsgrove, The Garrick Lichfield and Volcano.

‘We’re here because we’re here’ was made possible by an Ambition for Excellence Award from Arts Council England and by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with additional support from Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Creative Scotland and Art Fund.

14-18 NOW

14-18 NOW is principally funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, and by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 14-18 NOW is a programme of extraordinary arts experiences connecting people with the First World War, as part of the UK’s official centenary commemorations. It commissions new work by leading contemporary artists from all art forms.

The commemorative period is marked by three key seasons - Anniversary of the Declaration of War in 2014, the anniversaries of the Battle of Jutland and the Battle of the Somme in 2016, and the centenary of Armistice Day in 2018.

14-18 NOW is responsible for the UK tour of the iconic poppy sculptures by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, and ‘We’re here because we’re here’ by Jeremy Deller in collaboration with Rufus Norris.

14 -18 NOW is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and by additional fundraising. 14-18 NOW has commissioned over 140 artworks to date that have been seen by more than 30 million people.

National Lottery Awards

The National Lottery Awards are the annual search for the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects. The project with the most votes will be crowned the winner and receive a £5,000 cash prize to spend on their project, an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and attend a star-studded glittering Awards ceremony to be broadcast on BBC One in September.

To vote for We’re here because we’re here, please go to lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards or telephone 0844 836 9704 and follow the campaign on twitter: #NLAwards.

Voting runs for four weeks from 9am on 29 June until midnight on 27 July.

There are seven projects competing for votes across seven categories, reflecting the main areas of National Lottery funding: arts, sport, heritage, health, environment, education and voluntary/charity.

Salisbury Playhouse

Salisbury Playhouse is an arts and educational charity and one of Britain’s leading producing theatres, with a national reputation for home-grown work of the highest quality that attracts audiences from across Wiltshire, Hampshire, Dorset and beyond.

we're here because we're here