Untold stories of the women left behind

The cast of The 306: Day by the National Theatre of Scotland
The cast of The 306: Day by the National Theatre of Scotland
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The second part in a powerful new First World War drama that will tour Scotland looks at an aspect of the war that is still rarely talked about.

The heartbreaking, real-life stories of three front line soldiers who were executed for cowardice and desertion were told in the first part of what will be a trilogy from the National Theatre of Scotland, The 306: Dawn.

This second part, The 306: Day, explores the devastating consequences for the women they left behind.

It’s story begins in 1917, one year after the first drama ends, as revolution swept through Russia and change was everywhere.

Women in Scotland were fighting their own battles; rents were rising,food was scarce,and war work could be deadly.

The play looks at how the women, their families and communities were affected in the wake of the executions.

Director Jemima Levick, also artistic director of Stellar Quines, says it isn’t necessary to have seen the first part, which won acclaim when staged in a barn in Perthshire.

She said: “If you have seen the first part you’ll find out a bit more about the men but you don’t need to have seen it.”

“There are dramas about the women on the home front but they often tell the stories of the munitions workers etc. – this story hasn’t been told.”

The drama, written by Oliver Emanuel, includes the true story of Gertrude Farr, whose husband was executed for cowardice.

She is struggling to cope, with a young daughter to look after.

“Her story continues a year after his death and looks at how she chooses her path for survival,” said Jemima.

“Oliver has researched the stories very thoroughly and uncovered lots of information about Gertrude.

“The rest of it is fictionalised because we just don’t have all the information, but there is a truth that underlies it.

“You really get a sense of the reality and what these people were going through.”

The show boasts an original score written by Gareth Williams and performed live by the Red Note Ensemble.

Much of the music and songs have been inspired by letters and diaries from the time.

“Oliver and Gareth have created a song from these and it’s wonderful,” said Jemima.

The 306: Day will visit venues, town and village halls, and civic spaces across the country as part of the 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme to mark a century since the outbreak of the First World War.

It is presented by the National Theatre of Scotland, Perth Theatre and Stellar Quines.

Full tour and ticket information are available at nationaltheatrescotland.com.