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‘Standing In Line’ - Commemorating The Great War

by Lester Simpson & Piet Chielans

Blaize is delighted to be working with Lester Simpson and Hommel Arts to present ‘Standing In Line’, a moving performance that tells the story of the First World War using songs, readings and dramatic projected archive images. The production also reveals the personal tragedy of Albert Scrimshaw, Lester’s great uncle, who died at Passendale.  Originally commissioned by ‘Peace Concerts Passendale’ it was premiered in Passendale Church, Belgium.

Albert Scrimshaw was born in 1885 in Eastwell, Leicestershire, worked as a butler near Oxford and married a girl from Windley, Derbyshire.  He joined the "Ox and Bucks" regiment and marched off to war, never to return. His widow Annie lived in Duffield, Derbyshire, until her death in the 1970s.

The performance is centred around Lester’s songs, but also includes songs from the era, with poems of Wilfred Owen, Seigfried Sassoon and Rudyard Kipling featuring in the narration.

photo: Graham Whitmore

Audience reactions

‘What an incredibly moving, well performed tribute.  Thank you so much!’  

“It was absolutely excellent - very moving, brilliant music, and excellent presentation.”

“Absolutely fantastic. Great guys. Great performance.”


Blaize is taking bookings for ‘Standing In Line’ throughout 2014 to coincide with the First World War Centenary, although some dates in 2013 may be possible. There will also be education workshops associated with the production available for booking.

For further information, contact us

About The Performers

Lester Simpson is a singer, songwriter, actor, musician and broadcaster. He works as a soloist and with the internationally acclaimed a cappella trio Coope Boyes and Simpson. His solo CD ‘ONE’ was described by Living Tradition Magazine as “an emotive recording of finely gauged strengths and challenging depths.”

His work in film and theatre includes a period with the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican Theatre in London and as Musical Director of ‘Private Peaceful’ in Belgium. Written commissioned work includes ‘In Flanders Fields Museum’ [Belgium]; ‘Kershaw Comes Home’ [BBC Radio 1]; ‘Peace Concerts’ [Passendale]; ‘The Belper Suite’ [Belper Millennium Celebrations]; ‘March of Time  [Wellingborough Council] and The National Street Choir Festival Derbyshire [Derbyshire Children’s Festival. Lester has worked with Michel Morpurgo on live events in the UK and Belgium and on Private Peaceful both live and on radio.

Nigel Corbett has a classical background playing violin in the Sheffield symphony and philharmonic orchestras. He branched out into the world of folk music in 1981 playing for the local morris dance team. From this followed a number of ceilidh and concert bands, including Euro-Roots band Prego,and John Tams’ Stalking Horses where he met Lester Simpson.  He worked on Lester’s solo album ‘ONE’

Mike Bettison is the artistic director of Blaize; and most recently directed ‘Sward! – The Story of a Meadow’. He was a singer and musician with the folk band Flowers & Frolics and a performer with the Fabulous Salami Brothers. Current musical projects include ‘Notes from Teesdale’, which he performs with Rosie Cross.