Old Billy – Interactive Workshops in Charnwood and Beyond

Veteran soldier ‘Old Billy’, was a character developed to engage children and adults across the community in the experience of WW1.  Using a period harmonium and songs from the era, the aim of Old Billy was to animate a narrative of the Great War through interaction.  At times Old Billy and Tommy (or Billy) Atkin’s band worked together to engage both younger and older people in reflecting on WW1 themes through animated discourse, character, costume, music and song.  Recognition of familiar tunes like ‘Pack Up Your Troubles’ or ‘Long Way to Tipperary’ sparked associations enabling people to, ultimately, offer their own reflections on the experiences of one hundred years, whether quietly in thought or together.

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