WW1 PROTEST PLAY SUPPORTS SCOTTISH VETERANS' CHARITY
An acclaimed theatre production about the plight of American First World War veterans has lent its support to a Scottish charity which provides accommodation for homeless ex- servicemen and women. The producers of the award-winning Why Do You Stand There in the Rain?, which opens in Glasgow tonight (Monday, 31 May), will use the production as a platform to promote Scottish Veteran’s Residences (SVR) to help them raise funds for homeless UK military veterans.
Originally set up in 1910, SVR operates supported accommodation for veterans in Edinburgh and Dundee and is currently building a new 51 flat development in Glasgow. The charity will be promoted to the audiences attending tonight’s and Tuesday’s performance of the play in Glasgow’s Òran Mór with details of how they can donate funds to support its work throughout Scotland.
Why Do You Stand There in the Rain? is a production by Peter Arnott. Originally commissioned for the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the play opened to critical acclaim and appeared on a number of awards shortlists, winning a Scotsman Fringe First. An expanded version including two songs new to the Fringe production now returns to tour the Central Belt and the Highlands from 31 May to 14 June.
Based on the Bonus Army March of 1932 on Washington DC, Arnott’s play tells the story of what may have been the first Occupy Protest and march on the nation’s capital. 20,000 ragged and desperate First World War veterans and their families from all over the U.S. set up ‘Hoovervilles’ around the nation’s capital, to lobby Congress for the early release of a promised compensation package for services in the First World War. Congress voted no and Hoover called upon MacArthur and Patton to drive the veterans out of the capital. Armed with bullets and tear gas, 1,000 infantry and cavalrymen pushed the veterans out of Washington DC burning everything they owned.
The play’s producer, Alex Fthenakis said: “This is a play that captures a poignant moment in American history when its military veterans were abandoned after bravely serving their country in the Great War. We are delighted to be working with SVR to highlight the work they are doing to help avoid history repeating itself here in the UK by supporting this generation of veterans to ensure they are cared should they find themselves without a home.”
Ian Ballantyne, Chief Executive of the Scottish Veterans Residences, said: “We are grateful for the support of the whole production team of Why Do You Stand There in the Rain? for raising awareness of the important work we do. This production focuses on the plight of war veterans who fell on hard times and were forced to pursue desperate means for their survival. Sadly, it is a similar story for some of today’s ex-armed forces personnel who find themselves without a job or a home after putting their lives on the line in active duty.”