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Conchies! @ Edinburgh Fringe
Mon 13 Aug 2018  6:15pm - 8:15pm
SCND National Events


'Conchies' performed by 'A Certain Demographic' at Venue 40 within the Edinburgh Fringe this August from 13th to the 18th at 6:15pm.


A powerful evocation; there was honestly not a dry eye in the theatre when I went with my family to watch it. (Damon Albarn).



An amazing production. Really moving, very informative, a very complex and interesting piece of theatre. (Jim Broadbent.)


We in A Certain Demographic are on a mission to tell the story of what happened in our community during WW2. In 1940 a group of diverse individuals descended on a rural Lincolnshire village and with no prior knowledge of agriculture set up a farm. What united them was their revulsion at the violence that was sweeping Europe and their desire to show a different way of living was possible. They were Conscientious Objectors who aspired to do so much more than just object. They transformed themselves and over the years they have transformed our local community; and with descendants such as Jim Broadbent, Damon Albarn and Michael Morpugo have made a significant impact on the wider world. They were a remarkable group and their story raises questions and issues which resonate today.


‘Conchies!’ tells of the journeys of 5 of the COs, mainly in their own words, using transcripts from the interviews they gave over the years. They emerge as principled and courageous but also flawed and very human. The play is narrated by us, 'their children', all members of the Baby Boomer generation, who have never been forced, by world events to turn our lives upside down.


What draws me to this story is the question, ‘What would I have done?’ I belong to a charmed generation. We have never had to look deep into ourselves to answer an un-ignorable ultimatum delivered by external forces over which we have no control. There is a comfortable disconnect between our opinions and our lives. We have remained observers, commentators, pontificators, able to look out at the world from behind the safety of a screen. Ian Sharp, writer and director


One of the cast is the son of two of the original COs and for 50 years, man and boy, he has farmed the land where the conchies set up their Community Land Training Scheme. The play was performed to enthusiastic sell-out audiences at The Broadbent Theatre (which was founded by the COs) in Lincolnshire. Don Sutherland played himself in a cameo role and hopefully he will do the same in some of our Edinburgh performances and, if he does, we confidently assert that at 99 he will be the oldest performer at this year’s (possibly any year’s) Fringe.


As perhaps the sole survivor of pacifist farming communities in Lincolnshire in the last war I’m grateful that Ian has drawn the strings together in the performance ‘Conchies!’ at this Edinburgh Festival. I say this with great sorrow for those who fought and never came back. - Don Sutherland


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