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  • 16 October

    Southbank Centre

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    The Great War

    (Netherlands)

    Hotel Modern & Arthur Sauer

    Hotel Modern and Arthur Sauer’s ingenious mix of animation, live action and use of everyday objects for props and sound effects has won plaudits worldwide. For ‘The Great War’ they turned their attention and invention towards the Battle of the Western Front.

    This epic WW1 battle was reconstructed in front of audiences on a miniature film set that uses soil, parsley and rusty nails as trenches, trees and bombs and with sound effects from a Foley artist providing a gritty, intimate realism to the live soundtrack: a rap on the table sounded like a hand grenade exploding, the striking of a match became mustard gas being released.  Intertwined were the poignant words from the Great War: the very personal letters written by soldiers to their loved ones back home.

    The effect was a stunning visual experience that made the realities of a battle we’ve all heard about incredibly tangible.  Audiences watched the battle unfold on screen and then joined the company on stage to see up-close the incredibly detailed world Hotel Modern and Arthur Sauer created.


    A deeply original and enthralling piece of theatre…a work that fits with chilling ease between childlike war games and serious comment.

    Sunday Herald

    Presented with Southbank Centre as part of After a War — a 14–18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commission. A House on Fire project, supported by the Culture Programme of the European Union and the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England. Images: Joost van den Broek, Herman Helle.