AUDIENCES are invited to swap their shoes for a pair of army boots and immerse themselves in a theatre experience as part of the Lift Off! weekend.

Inspired by the centenary of the mass demobilisation from the First World War and the tales of modern-day veterans, Boots on the Ground is a promenade headphone show which follows the intertwining stories of men who are stepping back from war.

Wiltshire Creative has commissioned the performance from Tangled Feet Theatre to commemorate the end of the First World War.

Kat Joyce, the co-artistic director of Tangled Feet, said: “There is going to be a real buzz about Lift Off. It is really nice to be part of it.

“We are looking forward to getting it [the show] out. It will be the first manifestation of it in Salisbury so it is quite an experiment.”

Setting out from an army tent in Guildhall Square, the audience form a unit and are given their marching orders and embark on a walk together around Salisbury’s city centre.

The walk covers a distance of about 1.2 miles, but is in short bursts with several stops.

“Boots on the Ground invites its audience to come and enlist and put on a pair of army boots and then become part of a civilian marching unit,” explains Kat. “You put on a pair of headphones and are directed through a sergeant who just exists in your ears and the ears of everyone else.”

“It is a really unusual experience,” says Kat. “The experience of obeying orders as a group is one that unless you’ve had a background the forces you’re not used to. Being cut off in your own little world because of the headphones seems to make people really willing to go along with what they’re being asked to do. Along with that experience of being asked to march and following instructions you also have these two stories which play out over the course of the hour.”

The stories being told are 100 years apart - one follows the demobilisation of soldiers after the First World War and the other tells the story of two veterans who have served in Afghanistan and explores their different experiences as they transition into civilian life.

Kat says: “There is stuff in there that scratches below the surface in both stories and is perhaps an angle on the idea of demilitarisation and coming out of the army that people might not have seen before or had much contact with before or perhaps isn’t talked about a particular amount. It is really meaty and important content.”

Boots on the Ground has been written by Katie Lyons.

Kat adds: “This is a big experiment for us. What it asks of its audience is a level of cooperation and willingness to literally step into somebody’s shoes and go on a journey and follow instructions.“It asks a bit of investment from its audience but hopefully we give them something back, an experience they wouldn’t have had before.”

Boots on the Ground will start from the Guildhall Square on Sunday 26 August and Monday 27 August at 11am, 1pm and 4pm.

Book a free place in advance at the Salisbury Playhouse ticket office or at A limited number of tickets will be available on the day.

The walk is recommended for ages 14 and over and the route is suitable for wheelchair users.

The Lift Off! celebrations start on Friday, August 24 with Music in the Close and fireworks in Cathedral Close, which runs from 7pm-9.30pm.