A reminiscence project about the heritage of the people of Bournemouth and Poole in 1914. The project includes story telling, creative writing and performances by Valise Noire inspired by stories uncovered through research. The project activities lead up to a special concert by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at Lighthouse Poole and a stunning backdrop of poppies for an exhibition was created by children and young people. 

Wonderful performance packed full of emotion. So simple but so clever. Well done both!

Audience member

The project marks the Centenary of the First World War and enabled local people in Poole and Bournemouth to come together to preserve the memories and heritage of the people who lived through the First World War. Research was carried out to inform the performances which was shared with schools, the public and volunteers. Valise Noire made a suitcase full of replica artefacts and sonic landscapes produced by Momo:Tempo were specially created as part of the project to help creatively deliver information.

The project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Cultural Hub, Poole Culture Fund and was in partnership with local schools, libraries from Bournemouth and Poole's Cultural Hub as well as Poole Borough Council, Lighthouse Poole, Activate Performing Arts Agency, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Poole and Dorset History Centres. Research was also carried out at the Imperial War Museum London. 

The success of the project lead to further commissions for the Bournemouth Commemoration festival where Valise Noire lead the parade with the Mayor of Bournemouth and later commissioned for featured performances as part of Arts by The Sea Festival Bournemouth.


Contemporary interpretations inspired by local stories from World War One, seen through the eyes of two First World War nurses.

Sites for performances included the fallen trees and War Memorial in Poole Park, Green Park on Longfleet Road near Poole Hospital which is built on the site of The Cornelia Hospital and a three day pilgrimage performance, on foot, across Poole. 

A special site specific commission for Bournemouth Town Hall, formerly the Mont Dore Military Hospital, featured as part of the Award Winning Arts Festival, immersing audiences in the history of the building, guiding them into spaces never seen before by the public.


Lighthouse | Centre For The Arts Poole | 15th October - 22nd November 2014 

The Poppy Fields exhibition, in the Gallery at Lighthouse, saw the installation of over 5,000 poppies made out of paper and wire, some of which have also been used in site specific performances. There were also over 100 knitted poppies made by a local knitting group

The poppies were created by children from Cultural Hub schools, the public, care homes and youth groups across Poole and Bournemouth during the project workshop programme.

See more images in the POPPY FIELDS GALLERY


A three day 'performance pilgrimage', walking to over 30 heritage sites through Poole and Bournemouth. Meeting and greeting the public and sharing the heritage stories of the project.

The pilgrimage took place in the Summer of 2014 as a walking performance, Michele and Hazel started at the Cordite Factory in Holton Heath at dawn and continued to visit numerous heritage sites in Poole, including War Memorials, churches, schools, parks and places of significance during World War One. The performances have been a key aspect of the project in order to disseminate local heritage stories as an engaging and immersive experience for the audience.


Research was carried out in order to uncover significant local events and develop a project that shares a rich body of heritage material with the public and in schools workshops. 

Thousand of Poppies were made for the project and the heritage material shared with thousands of school children and memebers of the public. See how to make a poppy here

The Poppy Fields Resouce pack is now available for everyone to access for ongoing legacy of the project. Download Resource Pack Here

See more images in the POPPY FIELDS GALLERY

We really felt that we were part of their world! 

I have now seen parts of the Town Hall that I have never seen before! 

Great performance, thank you!

Audience member

Event Photography by Danika Westwood and Sharon Gadellaa

Using Format