Far Far From Ypres

The acclaimed stage production Far, Far From Ypres written and directed by Ian McCalman is on at Irvine’s Volunteer Rooms on Saturday 11th November. It is a tribute in song and poetry about those who fought and died in WW1 and tells the story of Jimmy McDonald who ‘comes from any village, town or city in Scotland’.
First performed in 2012, the production was brought back to mark the 100 years since the start of the ‘war to end wars’. The performance on Saturday 11th November is part of Irvine Folk Club’s 50th anniversary series of events and, helped by the generous support of North Ayrshire Council, the Club was delighted to secure Far, Far From Ypres for Irvine.
The show is narrated by Broadcaster Iain Anderson and features impressive singing and harmonies from 26 of Scotland’s finest folk musicians who remain on stage for the duration of the performance. Enhancing the audience’s understanding of the unfolding story is a backdrop of cleverly selected and presented images.
Far, Far From Ypres began as an album of Soldiers’ Marching and Trenches’ songs and poems. The songs gave a vivid insight into the attitudes and concerns of the troops in the trenches. From the album, Ian McCalman was inspired to write a narrative around the songs. Ian said ‘The songs of WW1 often speak of disillusionment, bitterness, boredom and a very dark sense of humour. There was no talk of heroics in the songs the soldiers were singing in the trenches and in the Music Halls back in Blighty’.
Another surprise in the songs was that very few showed any animosity towards the German troops. ‘It was quite unbelievable that the Soldiers wrath was directed at their own Command’ Ian added. Diverting the production from a path of unremitting gloom are songs and stories of humour and joy. And despite illustrating the horrors of war, and the individuals and communities touched by the sadness and helplessness of it, the show invariably leaves singers and the audience alike with nothing but admiration for the sacrifices of the thousands of Scots who went to war.
‘Far, Far From Ypres is not to be missed’ says Anne Clarke of Irvine Folk Club. ‘Having been at the performance in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall some years ago, we knew then that we wanted to stage it in Irvine and by happy coincidence a date was eventually secured which tied in with the Club’s 50th anniversary’.
Tickets at £10 are available – but over 250 have already been sold. Joyce Hodge of Irvine Folk Club added ‘The Club wanted to have an affordable ticket price and judging by the ticket sales, we have done that’. She added ‘Anyone wanting a ticket should get one soon’.
For tickets, contact Joyce on 01294 551047 or email JoyceIFC@aol.com – soon!