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Understanding Military Life Through Theatre: Army At The Fringe

A play at the Edinburgh Festival is aiming to highlight the effects of PTSD on soldiers returning from operations.

A play at the Edinburgh Festival is aiming to highlight the effects of PTSD on soldiers returning from operations.

'Wired' is being performed as part of the 'Army At the Fringe' event this month - shining a light on a difficult subject many find hard to talk about.

The story is of a young female soldier following in her father’s footsteps; “Wired” tracks Joanna’s journey from recruitment to combat, and its effect on her in the aftermath.

She sees her friend killed while serving in the Middle East and returns from operation a different person.

A key theme of the play is the way in which Joanna is given conflicting advice every step of the way. 

Jasmine Main, who plays Johanna, spoke about what the play aims to achieve:

“We’re hoping to give a wee peak into PTSD and the armed forces and how it can affect people from all walks of life, not just young soldiers like we see in the play”.

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The voice of the army represents the recruitment officers who persuade her to join and the superior officers she encounters during training, combat, and during her breakdown in the aftermath.

While her mother, who watched Joanna’s father go through the same experience after serving, warns her against signing up after school.

The play confronts the audience with the effects of PTSD - a subject many people who live with it still struggle to talk about.

Where real soldiers are concerned, the play really does ring true, as Una McDade who plays “the Voice” told us:

“We’ve done a couple of events at Redford Barracks where we’ve shown sections of the play, to see if the soldiers themselves thought the play was authentic. Afterwards we’ve had some very interesting conversations with serving soldiers.”

The play has had a real impact on the families of those who serve as well, according to Caroline Lewis, “The Mother”:

“I’ve spoken to wives whose husbands serve, and even though they’ve had an army life and they understand it, if they’re mothers they’re worried their children are going to grow up and join the army- we’ve had a lot of tears in the audience.”

The story’s been a reality for many who’ve served in the army, and those behind the play hope it will encourage a better understanding of those going through the struggle.

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