THE cast of First World War drama Birdsong paid a visit to Tedworth House on Tuesday to see how the money they raise helps today’s wounded soldiers.
They are currently performing the play of Sebastian Faulks’ acclaimed novel at Salisbury Playhouse as part of a national tour to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and forces charity Help for Heroes has been collecting money at the end of each performance.
Last year’s tour raised £33,000 for the charity and on Tuesday the cast were given a tour of the Help for Heroes-run recovery centre in Tidworth where they got the chance to meet some of the people the money helps.
Director Alastair Whatley said: “I didn’t know what to expect, but coming here and seeing where that money goes and meeting some of the people was great.”
Actor George Banks, who plays Stephen Wraysford in the play, said: “There was no support really 100 years ago when people were fighting. “Now they have these incredible facilities that do everything for these people, it’s very exciting to know what happens when you give that money to charity.”
The final line of the play is about the soldiers who returned having to suffer in silence as they tried to cope with what they’d seen but Whatley says it’s great to see that is no longer the case and charities like Help for Heroes are working hard to make sure people have a life beyond their injuries.
Banks said: “Visiting here won’t change the way I play the part, but will change the way I reflect on it and the trauma these men had to go through.
“It helps trying to comprehend this pivotal change in human history.”
“But looking at modern conflicts you see the injuries suffered aren’t that different and the bonds formed are the same,” said Whatley.
“It’s something which is universal.”