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Wirral choreographer illustrates horror of war in Wilfred Owen play
A WIRRAL choreographer's graphic interpretation of Wilfred Owen's work forms the centrepiece of a new play about the first world war poet.
Charlotte Roberts will use physical expression to depict how the wounds affected the lives of soldiers in Vilomah, which premieres at the Lantern Theatre in Liverpool from March 6-7.
Her interpretation of Wilfred Owen's poem Disabled is a centrepiece of the musical which was written by Dean Johnson.
It is the sequel to his hugely successful Wilfred Owen musical Bullets And Daffodils.
Owen, who spent some of his childhood in Birkenhead, is regarded as one of the greatest voices of the First World War.
He was killed in November 1918, during the battle to cross the Sambre-Oise canal at Ors in Northern France.
Viola, set after the First World War, it looks at the effect Owen's death had on his mother Susan, played by newcomer Jodie Forshaw.
Charlotte, an independent dance instructor, specialises in working with people who have special needs and the elderly with her Jigsaw Dance Company. She was also involved in Bullets and Daffodils.
On her role in Vilomah, Charlotte said: "Some of Wilfred Owen's words are so painfully graphic they can only be expressed physically.
"Many soldiers in WW1 lost limbs, and there was not the support that we see today. You can only imagine how their handicap affected the rest of their lives, and these men were still very young when the war ended."
Born in Oswestry in 1893, Wilfred Owen was brought up in Birkenhead and is recognised as one of the greatest voices of the First World War.
He also has a road named after him, on the former site of Birkenhead Institute, which is now a housing estate.
In 1915, he enlisted in the British Army. At the time of his death he was virtually unknown. Only four of his poems were published during his lifetime.
But he had always been determined to be a poet and had experimented with verse from an early age.
Among his 62 poems are 1914, Dulce et decorum est and Anthem For Doomed Youth.
Oxton-based writer Dean Johnson said recently: "I've been doing Bullets and Daffodils for three years now.
"What initially was a concept of setting his poems to music has grown beyond that.
"The pivotal thing is the war affects familes left at home. Vilomah pulls Bullets and Daffodils in and makes it a much more personal piece.
"Every memorial day there are families who have lost someone through conflict.
"Vilomah is for them. When soldiers go to war, their families are left at home."
Tickets are from The Lantern Theatre on 0151 703 0000 www.lanterntheatreliverpool.co.uk/events/vilomah/
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