The 306


Gareth Williams
University of Edinburgh


Portfolio, Practice Based, music theatre, composition, Oliver Emanuel, World War One, Memorial, Trilogy


The 306 is a trilogy of music-theatre works co-created by composer Gareth Williams and writer Oliver Emanuel that explore the stories of the 306 British soldiers executed during World War 1. Many of these 306 men, executed for cowardice, desertion and mutiny are not listed on any official memorials, even after they were conditionally pardoned by the British Government in 2006. This work gathered all of these names for the first time, listing them in song to complete the trilogy. As a part of 14-18 NOW (the UK-wide commemorative cultural program of work from 2016 – 2018) The 306 explored ideas of heroism and protest, by looking at this lesser known, deliberately forgotten, part of our national storyabout the cultural legacy of World War 1. Drawing on primary documents such as letters and telegrams from the front lines, protest songs and documents describing the women’s peace movement in Glasgow, music hall and classical repertoire, as well as contemporary interviews with family members of those executed for cowardice during WW1, the stories and songs were developed continuously from 2013 through to 2018, in residencies, workshops, and rehearsals. 306 Dawn and 306 Day were written for an ensemble of singing actors, and Red Note Ensemble (piano, violin and cello), while 306 Dusk was created for three singing actors, piano, string quartet, and community choir of 40 singers formed in Perth for the production. Throughcomposed across different productions in three consecutive seasons, the work challenges and progresses the role and status of live music in Scottish theatre. The music has been recorded as an album, funded by the Imperial War Museum, and was released by the National Theatre of Scotland in 2020.

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30 May 2024


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Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.