we're here because we're here by Jeremy Deller with Rufus Norris
On 1 July 2016, thousands of volunteers took part in a modern memorial to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. ‘we’re here because we’re here’ was a UK-wide event commissioned by 14-18 NOW, conceived and created by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller in collaboration with Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre. Produced by a nationwide team led by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the National Theatre, in collaboration with 26 organisations.
we're here because we're here was a unique and new approach to what we understand commemoration to be. As Artistic Advisor to 14-18 NOW, Cian Smyth advised Jeremy and his producing team, including Jennifer Crook, on how to successfully deliver the project in Northern Ireland - a place that had not seen uniformed soldiers on its streets since the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. Led by two of Northern Ireland's leading theatres - The Playhouse in Derry-Londonderry and the Lyric Theatre in Belfast - the project offered people from all communities an opportunity to reflect collectively on the contribution and devastating loss of Irish soldiers at the Battle of the Somme.