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A full-length theatre-piece about a real orchestra in the unrelenting aftermath of war

Somewhere in Eastern Europe, in the strange peace that follows war, an English conductor has been invited to conduct a haphazard orchestra from first rehearsal to concert performance, while the locals find themselves compelled to tell – and sometimes to re-live – how it is to go through a war.

Lively, funny and profoundly moving, the scenes merge in a non-naturalistic style to evoke the pervasive bewilderment that follows a national catastrophe. Using the words of actual survivors, it has a multi-national cast of six, and includes live music, both classical and folk.

This play started out at London’s Young Vic more than ten years ago, when Waterman performed a short piece as a musician and actor at a commemoration for victims of genocide. Its subsequent development as a full-length play entailed many years of workshops, including at the National Theatre Studio.

Comments following a showing in London 2018

Theatre at its best: interactions and juxtapositions that created deeply moving – and unusual – insights into the aftermath of civil war. The way the music was woven into the scenes was particularly affecting. The experience has left me with numerous enduring memories.

It was stunning. I particularly loved the orchestra pieces as it was a real pleasure to really listen to how the music builds.

In this post-war scenario, not only the men are talking about the horror of the war, but it is the women who show us their war on the home front by recalling the daily grind of survival and therefore making them equal heroes.

I know my wife and I were not the only ones who were thrilled with The Sound of Peace – there was a real buzz in the theatre afterwards.