Trench Brothers

Trench Brothers – New Performance Dates launched


17 October. Brighton Dome. 7pm

 A new music theatre work commemorating ethnic minority soldiers in World War One
Music:  Julian Joseph and Richard Taylor
Words:  Tertia Sefton-Green
 Tickets are available through the BRIGHTON DOME and cost £12.

A new music theatre work commemorating the contributions of ethnic minority soldiers during the First World War through music, theatre and puppetry, bringing to life their hopes and fears, their longing for home, their camaraderie, courage and valour.

Directed by Clare Whistler and Freya Wynn-Jones to Neil Irish’s designs, it features over 250 children from local primary schools in Brighton, Newhaven, Lewes and Seaford alongside acclaimed jazz vocalist of the year and MOBO nominated Cleveland Watkiss and ‘superb’ (The Times) opera singer Damian Thantrey.

Renowned jazz composer Julian Joseph and award-winning composer Richard Taylor are joined by composers Michael Betteridge, Jenny Gould, Matthew King, James Redwood and Omar Shahryar in a unique collaboration drawing together work developed with schools across London, Lancashire and the South East since 2014.

This powerful centenary event is made all the more poignant by its location in Brighton Dome, which served as an Indian Military Hospital during the war.

The Trench Brothers Exhibition will be at Newhaven Fort from 4 August to 5 November offering a creative response to the untold stories of ethnic minority soldiers in the First World War. For more information on the interactive exhibition, please see our EXHIBITION PAGE.

Trench Brothers was created with support from Heritage Lottery Fund.


Trench Brothers visits the National Memorial Arboretum as part of the Lichfield Festival!

4 July 2018, 6pm.

FREE : Pre-booking required through the NMA website.

Performed in National Memorial Arboretum’s unique outdoor setting of remembrance, this inspiring and moving performance features MOBO nominated jazz singer Cleveland Watkiss, opera singer Damian Thantrey, puppetry and 120 local school children.

The Trench Brothers performance is a culmination of a project with local primary schools in which students explore the contributions of ethnic minority soldiers in the First World War though a series of workshops including artefacts handling, a visit from an Indian Army costumed interpreter, a composition session to set their Letters Home from a given soldier to music and puppet making to create their own force of Trench Brothers puppets. Their learning is supported by the Trench Brothers Education Zone offering contextual information and 90 lesson plans and activities linked to the curriculum

Trench Brothers also has a temporary exhibition at the NMA which is also FREE to visit – for more information please see our EXHIBITION PAGE.


Trench Brothers – Lancashire Tour: An update

The touring Trench Brothers Exhibition has enjoyed a fantastic stay at the Lancaster Maritime Museum and Fylde Gallery and is currently on display at Clitheroe Castle, alongside a programme of family events.

Phillipa & Eva

/ Visitor

Very interesting exhibition which I didn’t know anything about. Very factual and entertaining. Lovely work by the children.

It uses elements of the Trench Brothers project to introduce the context of soldiers from the Indian Army, British West Indies and black British soldiers. It focuses on stories of eight soldiers and shows some of the many responses from children participating in the project through art, creative writing and music.


/ Visitor

A moving exhibition. Well done.

On Remembrance Day itself, over fifty participants took part in a creative exercise where they constructed their own model Sopwith Camels to commemorate the life of Hardit Singh Malik, whose story is told in the exhibition.



/ Visitor

Thank you for this exhibition. My grandfather died at the Neue Chappelle battle, and my great-uncle was shot at dawn, as a deserter. He was 19 and obviously suffering from shell-shock!


The Exhibition will be shown at Newhaven Fort from August 2018. A large-scale commemorative performance of the Trench Brothers music theatre work will take place at Brighton Dome on 17 October 2018.

Trench Brothers Exhibition

Today sees the launch of our long awaited Trench Brothers exhibition! 

Touring three locations around Lancashire, the interactive exhibition is a creative response to the untold stories of ethnic minorities in the First World War.

For further details, check out the dedicated exhibition page on this website and feel free to explore and discover more about the project.

Trench Brothers – Lancashire Tour

Trench Brothers is our First World War project that brings to life the lives of Black and Indian soldiers and commemorates their contributions. After running the project in schools around London, this summer saw the project taken on a tour around Lancashire in partnership with the Heritage Team at Lancashire County Council. The tour covered the length and breadth of the county, visiting primary schools from Blackpool to Burnley and was well extremely well received wherever it went, but don’t just take our word for it:


Justine North

/ Worsthorne

As a school located in a traditionally ‘White English’ village, we often find our children and families have little knowledge or empathy with other cultures. It has been valuable for our school to embrace the contributions made to the war effort by black soldiers.


We have been thrilled by the warm reception that the project received in every school that it visited. The pupils, teachers and parents showed our team nothing but a tremendous amount of appreciation and enthusiasm.


Students receive four workshops along with over 90 commissioned lesson plans, which inform their understanding of the topic by integrating learning about the First World War across the curriculum. You can learn more about this by clicking here.


For the tour, we partnered with several local organisations and performers to deliver the workshops.


The artefact handling workshop was provided by Lancashire County Council Heritage team:


Ruby Patel

/ St. Augustine’s

When the children wrote their diary extract, they wrote descriptively and passionately about their experience of being a soldier in the British army.

Justine North

/ Worsthorne

The children appreciate that there was a lot more to life in the war than fighting. It made them think more about life in the trenches.


Ranj Nagra played the role of an Indian Havildar to give students a first-hand experience of what life would have been like for young recruits.


Claire Clarke

/ Willow Lane

[One child] adored the Havildar session and stayed in role as a soldier throughout. She wrote an excellent piece in role as a Havildar talking about him and how he treated the other soldiers.


Led by puppeteers from the Horse and Bamboo Theatre, students crafted their own puppet in the likeness of an Indian or BWIR soldier.



A student from Piling St. John proudly shows off his BWIR puppet.


Colette Hardman

/ Reedley

Most of our children find art and craft skill difficult, however, Horse and Bamboo engaged the children with their step by step instructions. This allowed the children to keep focus, follow the instructions and complete the task that they are proud of.


Once all the workshops are complete, the students prepared for their final performance of our Trench Brothers music theatre piece by composers Julian Joseph, Richard Taylor and libretto by our own Creative Director Tertia Sefton-Green. They learnt the songs for the show, including their Letter Song about a given soldier they have written the lyrics for and set to music with a composer.


Justine North

/ Worsthorne

They learned that they can be song writers and composers. They gained confidence to sing in front of their peers and were proud to have their ideas included in the song.


On the day itself, our team of 8 turned up in each school with all the necessary equipment and, in the space of a few hours, got the children ready for their performance! We are delighted to say that each school put on a fantastic performance, one that will be recorded on our Legacy Site shortly.


Chris Allton

/ Cliviger

I could not believe the amount of time and resources provided to the school and the final product at the end.


Claire Clarke

/ Willow Lane

What an opportunity for our children! We have never done anything like this before at our school and I was astonished with the results. We loved learning our songs and taking part in a show with another year group. All the children were so proud of the part they’ve played and the feedback from parents has been amazing. One parent said ‘Best thing I’ve ever seen.,



The students of St. Francis of Assisi invited local veterans to watch the performance.


The schools involved in the project will also be contributing some of their work to the Trench Brothers exhibition, which will shortly begin its own tour of Lancashire starting on 10 August at Lancashire Maritime Museum. There, the children’s work will be found alongside fascinating memorabilia and displays that will bring the Trench Brothers experience to life.


Colette Hardman

/ Reedley

I have learnt from the staff provided new ways to engage children’s learning. I have developed as a teacher to engage students in new ways.


We would like to extend our thanks to all of our partners on this project, as well as the Heritage Lottery Fund, whose generous support made the project possible.

Trench Brothers visit Parliament

Heritage Lottery Fund’s Understanding WW1 Event

Trench Brothers made a great impact at Heritage Lottery Fund’s Understanding WW1 event at the Houses of Parliament yesterday, after which local MP David Burrows tweeted that the puppets were the star attraction! HMDT Music’s Creative Director Tertia Sefton-Green and Projects Coordinator Helen Kelly are pictured with David Burrows MP, historian Dan Snow and Carole Souter Chief Executive of Heritage Lottery Fund and with Dr Andrew Murrison MP. We’re delighted to have the Little Angel Theatre as partners to share their amazing puppet-making skills!