Letters Home – animating WW1

Letters Home
Sheffield and the First World War:
Creative Writing & Animation Project (2014)

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Recording voice overs for animations

Role/s:
Creative writing & introduction to WW1 facilitator
Editor/Voice over recorder
Exhibition publication collation & design

About the project
As part of the development of the Sheffield and the First World War Exhibition, Museums Sheffield engaged a group of pupils from Springs Academy in a creative writing and animation project.

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Cover of exhibition publication with image from ‘Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht’, written by Georgia Stubbs and animated by Zoe Genders

Using letters sent to and from local soldiers fighting on the frontline during the First World War, the GCSE Drama students produced a range of creative writing responses that would form the inspiration and voice-over narratives for four short films made by graduate animators from Sheffield Hallam University.

Working with writer, Vicky Morris, the students, were first encouraged to build a fuller picture of the effects of the war through a wide range of stimulus from the period including poetry, photos and documentary footage of the frontline and home-front.

After warm-up writing exercises and discussions, the students went on to research and create a diverse range of final pieces that took the form of poetry, letters, diary entries and monologues. They then recorded their work and met with animators to discuss ideas about how they could bring their words to life.

The final animated films form part of the Sheffield and the First World War Exhibition. They provide an alternative interpretation of the source material and present difficult and moving personal stories for our family audience at Weston Park Museum.

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Discussing ideas for animation

The letters used in the project were sent between family members and we hope that these inter-generational interactions will strike a chord with our visitors as many of them are inter-generational family groups.

A big thank you to Springs Academy, Sheffield Hallam University and all who were involved in making this project a great success.
Animators:
James Reynolds
Zoe Genders
Tom Gamble
Ben Simpkins

With many thanks to the families of the young soldiers whose letters were used in this project.

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Still from ‘Shell-Shocked’, written by Elizabeth Bell, animated by Ben Simpkins

First World War Soldiers:
Ernest Spencer
Allan Simpson
Leslie Vernon Morte
James Froggatt
John Philip Chellingworth
Oliver George Bartrop
Arnold Drury
Milton G Payling
William Broadhead

A Museums Sheffield project supported by Sheffield Town Trust & The Church Burgesses Educational Foundation