Cold Feet star Hermione Norris announced the event We’re Here Because We’re Here had won its category at this year’s National Lottery Awards, the annual search for the nation’s favourite Lottery-funded good causes.
The event, commissioned by 14-18-NOW, beat off competition from 1,300 entries to win a £5,000 cash prize and an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and will have its work celebrated on a special BBC 1 show later this month.
On Friday, July 1 2016, people were stopped in their tracks by the unexpected appearance of 1,400 volunteers dressed as soldiers in full World War One uniform in town centres and various locations across the UK.
This visual arts experience marked the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in history.
We’re Here Because We’re Here was conceived by Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller in collaboration with Rufus Norris, director of the National Theatre.
It was commissioned by 14-18-NOW, produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the National Theatre, with support from 25 regional performance organisations across the UK, including Storyhouse in Chester, and involved volunteers from all walks of life.
Hermione Norris said: “We’re Here Because We’re Here really captured the public’s imagination on a day of national significance: the centenary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
“It created a modern day mix of heritage, visual arts and theatre to serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made by British soldiers a century ago.
“National Lottery players should be proud to have funded this fantastic project and so many other First World War remembrance initiatives.”
Director at 14‐18 NOW Jenny Waldman added: “National Lottery funding has helped us create extraordinary arts experiences that connect people with the First World War.
“We are delighted that We’re Here Because We’re Here has made such an impact on the public. Winning this National Lottery Award is tremendous recognition for our artists, supporters, funders and volunteers.”
The winners of the National Lottery Awards are decided by the public - 4,192 people voted for We’re Here Because We’re Here to win Best Heritage project.
You can see more about the impact of the project on a special BBC One show on Wednesday, September 27, which will profile the seven winners of this year’s National Lottery Awards.