Before Action was a 3 day light and sound art show at Lichfield Cathedral, celebrating the 100th anniversary of The Battle of the Somme. It ran between 7pm and Midnight.
The introduction to the event was a series of war poems written at the time, as read by actor Eddie Redmayne. It really put the event into perspective.
In the middle of the Nave, they'd moved all the chairs out the way and set up an Edwardian living room, complete with piano and period sheet music. Period magazines and knitting patterns. On the writing bureau, were a series of letters and photographs, starting with a call up letter, then ending with a letter consoling the wife about his death.
After leaving the Living room, we walked across the Nave, which had projected poppies, towards a cloth. It was supposed to represent a soldier leaving his home and heading towards France and the Trenches of World War 1.
In the North Transept, there was a projector set up, that showed actual footage and photographs of British soldiers, that were taken on or before the Battle itself. It was very humbling and touching, bringing a more human element to the War.
Outside the Chapter house, a projector was set up and with grateful thanks from the Imperial War Museum, was showing actual artwork drawn by soldiers. It was a sobering reminder of what people actually woke up to and saw on a daily basis.
The Lady Chapel had a giant projector that not only repeated Eddie Redmayne's war poetry, as well as others reading, it also showed pictures of real people that were present there, as well as diary entries from people who were present, so we heard their stories.
On the back door of the South Transept, they projected the names of every single British soldier who was killed during the The Battle of the Somme, It was printed in alphabetical order and took an hour to cycle through. Near that was a tree, where people could leave tributes to family members who had been lost in the First World War.
Just off to the South Transept, there is a small Military Chapel, inside was a tribute to the fallen members of the Staffordshire Regiment in The First World War. There's also a large candle that is slowly burning down and will go out on November 11th.
Overall, this event, even though was 3 days, was a very eye opening and sobering. It didn't bash people over the head with facts and figures. It wasn't a history lesson. It was designed to show the human side to the war. It showed what families went through as men left. It showed what men went through while over there.