“The extraordinary history of Greenham Common formed the basis of a large-scale spectacular community theatrical event and show, performed live on the runway of the former RAF and USAAF Airbase to an audience of thousands.

Paola Dionisotti (RSC, National Theatre, Game of Thrones) led the volunteer and professional performers in an unique dramatic event involving music, mass choirs, dance, live painting, banner processions and re-enactors. The stories told covered the history of the last 100 years at Greenham, including the American arrival in WW2, the Uganda Asians flight from Idi Amin’s Uganda and their arrival at the Greenham airbase and of course the Cold War and peace protests that brought Greenham to international attention.

The event celebrated 20 years since Greenham Trust was formed and returned Greenham Common to local people.” Greenham Common Trust

Shademakers took part in this outdoor event, bringing the calico Landship and WW1 infantry costumes. We were delighted to work with the Thames Valley Police Cadets, who wore our costumes with pride, getting into character and interacting well with the visitors.

Visitors were keen to talk to us and ask questions. We explained that what they were seeing is an artistic interpretation of a  WW1 tank and military uniforms.

“Why are you all in white?”

The calico represents the innocence of those going into battle at this time – not knowing what they were going into. It also gives a ghostly feel and makes people look again and ask questions.

“Why are you here at Greenham Common?”

We explained that some of the tanks were tested on Greenham Common, prior to going into battle.

“Are you a baker?”

We also told how the first tanks were made by the women of Lincoln, the munitionettes. Churchill commissioned a landship to be made and went to Lincolnshire, as this was an agricultural area, skilled at moving heaving machinery across rough land.

“Why are you wearing that mask?”

We explained how the masks would originally have been made of raw hide and chainmail and were an attempt to protect the men inside the tank from flying fragments of steel as the bullets hit the tank.


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