UK theatre production featuring veterans and Canadian Military Wives Choir Association brings reality of military, family, and PTSD to life

The UK-based play Soldier On has received rave reviews as it shares war stories with the help of the Canadian Military Wives Choir Association.

Inspired by the stories and memories from British servicemen and women and their families, Soldier On follows their journey through modern military service and its aftereffects.

“It is a rollercoaster of emotions. It not only deals with what the veterans go through when they come home but their families as well. I never thought about that side of PTSD, and then when you see it played out in front of you on stage, it just hits you like a ton of bricks. You come out understanding why that member of your family or your friend/partner is the way they are,” says Jennifer Grose, producer Soldier On.

The production features professional actors as well as former military members from the Soldiers Arts Academy, who have found an interest in theatre, and use it as a way to help with their PTSD.

Grose says being apart of this production has raised her awareness towards Veterans in our country, and a reason to fight for them.

“With the work, the Soldiers Arts Academy has been doing with the veterans, rehabilitation through the Arts, I think they have found an amazing way to help them manage their PTSD with a creative outlet. It is hard to figure out who is the professional actor and who is the veteran on stage,” says Grose.

Audience goers will receive a pleasant surprise at select shows, featuring the voices of members from the Canadian Military Wives Association.

After working with the UK equivalent showcasing different choirs each night during their London run at The Other Place, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Theatre, Grose was tasked with finding something similar in Toronto for their Canadian run this month.

“We have the honour of the ladies joining our cast onstage every night! It really brings us all together and drives home that the families should not be forgotten,” says Grose.

Amanda Morrow Herlinger, president of the Canadian Military Wives Choir, says the experience working with the cast, production team, and Veterans have been wonderful and hopes more members of the CMWC will be able to meet them someday.

“Opening night was Thursday night, and the theatre audience was full, we had 15 members from the Canadian Military Wives Choirs (CMWC) from seven Canadian Armed Forces Bases across Ontario and myself from Valcartier in Quebec,” says Morrow Herlinger.

All proceeds from the show will be donated to True Patriot Love and The Roland Gossage Foundation to help military members, their families and to raise awareness of PTSD.

The show is running until December 8 at the Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre in Toronto. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit the Soldier On Toronto website.

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Paige LeClair

As a recent graduate from the St. Thomas University Journalism program, Paige has a passion for storytelling and investigative journalism. In 2016, she, along with her journalism team were awarded first place at the Emerge Media Awards in the multimedia category. The team was also a finalist at the Canadian Association of Journalist Awards. She is excited to work with other military spouses providing stories and information to the military community. Paige is newly married to Andrew, a Lineman, and moved to their first posting in Petawawa in May of this year. She is excited to begin this journey with Andrew, their dog Diablo, and cat, Linux

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Canadian Military Family Magazine