WAR IS IN THE AIR

Three Avro Lancaster B.IIIs of 619 Squadron airborne from Coningsby, Lincolnshire, in February 1944. THe aircraft in the foreground, LM418/PG-S, was destroyed in a crash-landing at Woodbridge Emergency Landing Ground, Suffolk,while returning from the ill-fated raid on Nuremburg of 30/31 March 1944 on two engines. Its crew survived the crash, but were all later killed in action.

Over recent years, the Second World War has gradually loomed larger and larger in the public imagination – not just in films and TV shows like ‘The Imitation Game’, ‘Fury’, ‘Inglorious Basterds’ and ‘SS GB’, but also in some of our museum projects.  Lately, we’ve been involved with ‘The House of European History’, ‘Bentley Priory’ and ‘The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) Museum’. 

That resurgence of interest continues with our involvement in Lincoln’s prestigious new International Bomber Command Centre, which remembers more than 58,000 RAF personnel – men and women both – who lost their lives serving with the Command. Working with Redman Design, we’re developing a range of audio, film and interactive experiences that will share and honour their story. 

It’s an enthralling project, with a focus not on the military hardware but on human side of this controversial, even hidden, aspect of the Second World War. And the stories told by the people involved – on both sides, in the air and on the ground – are powerful and affecting.

For instance, one core element of the interpretation will be a large-scale immersive experience that brings vividly to life an attack on a German city, seen from the perspectives of bomber crews and German military and civilian witnesses. 

Given the physical and emotional scale of the experience we are creating, with massive multi-surface projections, gobos, lighting effects and ‘hit-you-in-the-stomach’ surround sound, our production team have been experimenting with all sorts of visual and audio techniques. 

And the release of Christopher Nolan’s epic war film ‘Dunkirk’ presented an ideal opportunity to immerse ourselves in an afternoon at the cinema and experience the film on a massive IMAX screen. Nolan’s film shares our immersive’s narrative approach: to show war from the perspective of those who were in the thick of it – making this a fantastic opportunity to learn from a master film-maker. 

The bar has been set high as we move from war on the beaches to war in the air… No pressure, then!

 

Steve Hewitt

Senior Producer