On November 1 1914, two Royal Navy armoured cruisers were sunk by the German fleet off the coast of Chile. Not only was it the most significant British Navy defeat for more than a century, it was also an important moment of shared cultural history between the UK and Chile. The Battle of Coronel project has allowed young people from both countries to connect over this important and tragic event through music, song and history.
Our Joint Artistic Director Maurcio Venegas-Astorga, who has written a piece of music especially for the project says:
"Since I was a child in Coronel Chile, I have been hearing stories from my elders of the battle that took place a hundred years ago along the coast of my village, and the sad loss of lives that occurred as a result of that tragic confrontation. I truly believe that humanity in all its wisdom will equip us with the necessary vision of peace and understanding among human beings so that in a hundred more years the memories of the children of the future will be that of a world without wars or tragedies of this sort. I feel lucky to be able to share my music and culture in aid of peace and understanding in England, with the event so closely connected with the history of the English people, and our songs and prayers of hope for the future."
Our participants, from Symondsbury Primary School and St Mary's Middle School in Dorset, and Escuela Playas Negras D676 in Coronel, Chile, have created art and music which culminated in a live performance in late 2014. There was an exhibition of materials collected and creative works made by our participants, which is being shown in both countries. Through the project, pupils across two continents learned about the shared heritage of their different cultures.
You can download a copy of the songbook from the project, written by pupils in collaboration with Musiko Musika, here.
You can also download the script from our Dorset performances here.
Click here for a compilation of the archive images collected and displayed as part of the project.