At the end of the First World War, communities across Wales established ‘welcome home’ committees to raise funds to honour local men returning from the front. Village halls and workmen’s institutes became focal points for armistice and peace celebrations. A victory ball was held at the Oakdale Workmen’s Institute in early 1919.

To mark the centenary of the dance, and the culmination of Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales’ Wales Remembers programme, we worked in partnership with Re-Live, an award-winning charity that creates professional life story theatre productions with veterans, to re-imagine the ball.

Y Dychweliad – The Return was an unforgettable performance by ex-service personnel, their families, community members and professional actors. The production weaved reimagined scenes from the First World War and victory ball with personal and emotional experiences of 21st century men and women returning to their communities from war.

"This project has saved me because it’s given me something to look forward to, it’s given me a purpose again. It helps me control my anxiety too. This is the only one place I can come where I know I won’t be judged."

Veteran and cast member, 2019

 

"The best experience of the project was the connections that we all made – the emotions and the therapeutic journey, personally for myself, but also in the bigger sense. The fact that we all shared our stories as veterans, but also as community members and how they connected together in the middle. There’s been nothing quite like that."

Veteran and cast member, 2019

 

The project was funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund.

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