A Fitting Tribute For Saki

The centenary of the Somme has been commemorated in many ways this year. One such way was We’re Here Because We’re Here, a nationwide ‘living memorial’ devised by Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller, produced by the National Theatre, for which 1,500 volunteers in replica WW1 uniforms appeared at public places around the UK and silently handed out cards bearing the name, age and regiment of ‘their’ soldier: a specific soldier who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Art can bring memory to life

Anna Lewis, a Jerwood Young Designer, was Lead Costume Supervisor on the project and so was responsible for researching and sourcing each uniform. She also researched each soldier’s name and background, a process that required her to investigate the Somme in great depth and from a very human angle.

Her current project, Life According to Saki, is also set during the Battle of the Somme. Although completely different and far more light-hearted, its research required a similar attention to detail – this time delving into the life and history of Edwardian satirist Hector Hugh Munro (AKA ‘Saki) who died at the Somme, shot by a sniper while calling for one of his men to “put that bloody cigarette out!”

In Anna’s words, “art can bring memory to life” and in doing so has a value distinct from a memorial service. Through theatre, the act of remembrance can be engaging, powerful, and alive. Even in a humorous, slightly absurdist production such as Life According to Saki, the history marches on.

Life According to Saki is on 3-29 August 2016 (except 15 August), 2.15pm, C Venues (C +3)

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this article has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now