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440 Drama Group Had Memorable Trip June 22, 2004 Article in The Vanguard (Yarmouth NS) By Tina Comeau They say it is hard to put it into words, yet when members of 440 Productions describe their recent trip to England it is obvious this was the experience of a lifetime, if not a life-changing experience. It was an unbelievable, awe-inspiring, awesome experience,” says teacher George Egan, who directs the group that is made up of current and former students of Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School. Last month the cast and crew travelled to England where, among other things, during a memorial weekend they performed for members of the Telegraphist Air Gunners (TAGs) Association, many of whom, as young men, trained at East Camp in Yarmouth during the Second World War. “These war heroes, they kept telling us that they were honoured to have us perform and we had to stop them and say, no, it’s and honour for us,” says student Sarah Rogers. For 440 Productions, it was remarkable to be on stage singing about the experiences of people in their audience. Imagine their excitement, for instance, when one person identified himself as of one the TAGs in the photograph gracing the cover of the 440 Productions program [This was Yarmouth-trained TAG Bill Durrant of Course 50A]. “It was just so different from anything we had ever experienced on stage, we were performing for people who the stories were about,” says student Chris Johnson. This emotion wasn’t just felt when the group performed, it followed them throughout the journey. “You stand on the White Cliffs of Dover and you look up and you can picture how the Spitfires flew over top of there, there were dogfights over the Channel, you can actually see it and when you realize this is where it happened, it’s pretty amazing,” says student Ben Medel, who also describes an hour-long conversation with a TAG veteran. “He was talking about his training in Yarmouth and about the whole war, it was one of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had in my life.” Since arriving home, 440 Productions has received letters and emails of gratitude for their efforts. “You will have noticed that we were all spell-bound from your introduction to the very end,” reads one letter. “The enthusiasm and sincerity of all the cast brought tears to eyes of all of us.” For Egan, travelling to England has not only made the past 12 years of 440 Productions feel more meaningful, it’s also put it into perspective. Which is why the group hopes to be able to accept an invitation they’ve received to return to England. Doing so will mean more fund-raising ahead, not only to cover the cost of this trip, but to fund another, perhaps as early as next spring. Aside from approaching former and new sponsors, 440 Productions is planning to do a Nova Scotia tour as a means to raise funds. After all, experiences like this one only come along once in a lifetime, and maybe twice if you’re lucky.
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440 Drama Group Had Memorable Trip June 22, 2004
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