Wiltshire Women of WWI: The Heroine Project Presents DOROTHY LAWRENCE
In June 1915, armed only with a bicycle, her wits and a burning journalistic ambition, a young woman named Dorothy Lawrence set out from England determined to reach the frontline of fighting in northern France.
“I’ll see what an ordinary English girl, without credentials or money can accomplish. I’ll see what I can manage as a war correspondent!”
Sleeping in ditches, haystacks and flea-bitten dugouts, Dorothy wheedled, charmed and hoodwinked her way past suspicious gendarmes and the unwanted attentions of frustrated soldiers, to spend ten days under heavy shelling in the French town of Albert shortly before the Battle of Loos.
Eventually discovered and packed off home by an astonished military command, Dorothy was forbidden from writing about her experiences for the duration of the war. The account that she published in 1919 was not widely read, and her worsening health ultimately led to her incarceration in St Bernard’s Mental Hospital in north London.
Dorothy died in 1964, having spent nearly 40 years in a psychiatric institution.
This incredible story has previously unexplored connections with Salisbury.
100 years after her adventures in northern France, it is tremendously important that Dorothy should be remembered in the World War One centenary celebrations in this area.
The Heroine Project is a new theatre group that aims to give a voice to women from history who have been overlooked or misrepresented. In the First World War centenary year, we are making our first piece of theatre about this extremely brave but forgotten heroine. As part of this process, we are offering a theatre workshop on Salisbury women of World War One to residents of the wards of St Martin’s & Cathedral and St Edmund’s & Milford, where the workshop is taking place.
We would like to stimulate a wider interest in preserving Salisbury women’s World War One stories, so participants are invited to bring along any material that they might have relating to female relatives who lived in these areas during the First World War. During the workshop, there will be the opportunity to explore these stories using the creative techniques developed by The Heroine Project in our devising process.
The workshop will take place on Saturday 30th August at Hale Hall in Salisbury. It is free of charge and anyone who lives in the wards of St Martin’s & Cathedral or St Edmund’s & Milford can participate. Absolutely no experience is necessary: just an interest in theatre and/or local First World War heritage!
Please contact me for further information:
Heroine Project Director