24 May 2016 to 11 Jun 2016

The 306: Dawn

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WORLD PREMIERE A National Theatre of Scotland, 1418 NOW and Perth Theatre co-production, in association with Red Note Ensemble.

The 306: Dawn
Written by Oliver Emanuel and Composed by Gareth Williams
Directed by Laurie Sansom
Costume and Set Design by Becky Minto
Lighting Design by Simon Wilkinson
Musical Director Jonathan Gill

The 306: Dawn is a new piece of music theatre from the National Theatre of Scotland. Based on real events, it charts the heartbreaking journey of three of the three hundred and six British soldiers who were executed for cowardice, desertion and mutiny during World War I (1914-18).

Joseph Byers (17) from Glasgow.
Too young to enlist, Joe, like so many at the time, has lied about his age to join the other men at the front. However, his dreams of being a solider are quickly destroyed by the brutal realities of trench warfare and he soon finds himself in trouble with the authorities.

Private Harry Farr (25) from London.
Traumatised by the things he has seen and lived through as a serving soldier, Harry is suffering from shell shock and is now unable to fight. He has subsequently been convicted of cowardice, and as he waits to hear his fate, he dreams of his wife and hopes for a last minute reprieve.

Lance-Sergeant Joseph Willie Stones (24) from Durham.
Having used his rifle to block the entrance to a trench during fierce fighting, Joseph stands accused of casting away his arms in combat - an offence punishable by death. He thought he was protecting his men, but the top brass want to make an example of him to maintain discipline in the ranks.

With a contemporary score performed live by the Red Note Ensemble, the songs explore the vulnerability and devastation of the battlefields, alongside the inner struggles of the men.

Poignant and powerful, The 306: Dawn will be performed in a transformed barn in the Perthshire countryside. Join us, as we explore the lives of these unknown soldiers - who appear on no war memorials - and give them back their voices, stories and names.

Age guide 14+
Contains strong language and adult themes.

Preview: Tue 24 – Thu 26 May
£11.50 (inc £1.50 booking fee per ticket)
Young Scots, students + under 26s £5

Fri 27 May – Sat 11 Jun
£19.50; concessions £14.50 (inc £1.50 booking fee per ticket)
Young Scots, students + under 26s £5

Sat 28 May performance: Please note this performance starts at 2.15am on the Saturday morning.

Audio described performance: Sat 4 Jun: 2pm (please inform the Box Office at the time of booking that you require this service)

Pre-show talks (free but ticketed)
Wed 1 Jun: 6pm - Spotlight on Dawn - The making of The 306 book here
Thu 9 Jun: 6pm - Naming the 306 - An insight into Scotland at war book here

For further information regarding transportation to Dalcrue Farm please read our customer information guide.

The 306 School Workshop Programme

The 306: Dawn trailer

The 306: Dawn production pictures
(credit Manuel Harlan)
The 306 Dawn production picture

The 306 Dawn production picture

The 306 Dawn production picture

The 306 Dawn production picture

The 306 Dawn production picture

The 306 Dawn production picture

The 306 Dawn production picture

The 306 Dawn production picture

The 306 Dawn production picture

The Herald. 30/05/2016 
Sansom makes every last moment matter
Play focuses on three of the 306 men shot for acts of 'cowardice'

The 306: Dawn
Dalcrue Farm, Perth
Neil Cooper *****

In a barn outside Perth, three young men are being forced to face up to their unplanned, unwanted and heartlessly unnecessary destiny in Oliver Emanuel's meditation on the 306 men executed for "cowardice" in the First World War.

As brought exquisitely to life in Laurie Sansom's impressionistic music theatre staging, this epic co-production between the National Theatre of Scotland, First World War centenary art commissioning project 14-18 NOW, and Perth Theatre in association with Red Note Ensemble, belatedly honours the dead. Emanuel's play focuses on three of the men; Harry Farr, Joseph Byers and Joseph "Willie" Stones, and shows the human frailties behind their eventual fate.

From a shellshocked Farr's final moments with his young wife Gertrude, to Byers' enthusiasm to join up, all three men are brutalised by the institution they so loyally served.

Seen between the hours of 2.30am and 4am, the action moves across five stages that are raised above designer Becky Minto's complex network of catwalks and framed by a platform fenced by trees carved into the shape of rifles.

Sansom's swansong as artistic director of the NTS shows off his ability to navigate a cast around such a vast expanse in a way that makes every moment matter. As well-drilled ensembles go, the nine actors are more than a match for the highly choreographed chutzpah of Blackwatch, that other war-based dramatic collage that first put the NTS on the map. Here, however, the imagery drawn from Emanuel's writing is gentler and more vulnerable as it betrays the fear and horror of cannon fodder packed off to a foreign land, with some of those fighting for a cause they could barely comprehend.

It is driven too by the sweep of Gareth Williams' score, in which the actors part sing their lines accompanied by Red Note Ensemble members, pianist Jonathan Gill, cellist Robert Irvine and violin player Jackie Shave. Josef Davies, Scott Gilmour and Joshua Miles play Harry, Joe and Willie with an unerring grace in this most brilliantly moving of elegies.

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