Medals All Round Research Initiative (MARRI)

Medals All Round Research Initiative (MARRI)Medals All Round Research Initiative (MARRI) is a community drama project which will encourage groups to research, script and perform family and community stories that reveal an infinitely more nuanced and inclusive account of the human experience of a region simultaneously  ‘at war’ with itself and with an outside force.

Building upon the formative work already done through the presentation of Brenda Winter-Palmer’s play The Medal in the Drawer, and its outreach project 2014-2015, ‘Medals All Round’ combines the knowledge, expertise and facilities of Drama at Queen’s University Belfast with that of the Creative Learning department at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast in order to create a model for interaction with community groups at the grassroots level (eight organisations have already expressed interest in being part of the project). The Lyric and Queen’s will employ our expertise in Drama facilitation to assist these community groups in exploring their heritage in relation to the First World War. The groups selected reflect a broad range of diversity, including Protestant and Catholic communities, a Special Needs group, Prisoners/Ex-Offenders and groups from localities defined as areas of social need. We plan to provide each of the groups with an experienced Drama Facilitator who, over the course of 10 two-hour visit, will provide support and advice on using theatre skills to allow members of the community to tell their own stories.

Through this process, the participants in the project (both those employed within the project and the community groups they visit) will enhance their own skills so that they can continue to carry on similar work in the future. The project is thus designed to leave a crucial legacy—when the project is over, multiple community groups will have gained the knowledge and skills to direct their energies to the representation of communal narratives (about the First World War and beyond), and a group of young facilitators will have gained unparalleled experience in leading such projects.