Pages of the Sea: Danny Boyle

Activate Performing Arts will be part of Pages of the Sea, Danny Boyle’s commission for 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day. On 11 November 2018, the public is invited to gather on beaches across the UK for an informal, nationwide gesture of remembrance for the men and women who left their home shores during the First World War.

Millions of people served in the First World War and many left from beaches around the UK. Activate Performing Arts will be leading events at Weymouth on Sunday 11 November.  Each event centres around the drawing of a large-scale portrait of a casualty from the First World War, designed by sand artists Sand In Your Eye, which will be washed away as the tide comes in. In addition, the public will be asked to join in by creating silhouettes of people in the sand, remembering the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the conflict. 


Poet Carol Ann Duffy has been invited by Boyle to write a new poem, which will be read by individuals, families and communities as they gather on beaches on 11 November. Copies of the poem will be available at the beaches around the UK for those who wish to come together or to offer their own personal contribution.  

Danny Boyle said: "Beaches are truly public spaces, where nobody rules other than the tide. They seem the perfect place to gather and say a final goodbye and thank you to those whose lives were taken or forever changed by the First World War. I'm inviting people to watch as the faces of the fallen are etched in the sand, and for communities to come together to remember the sacrifices that were made."

The public is also invited to explore an online gallery of portraits of some of the men and women who served in the First World War, and select someone to say a personal goodbye to either via social media or as they gather in person on beaches on 11 November. Visitors to the website can also add portraits of members of their family or community who contributed to the First World War. These will be added to Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War, a permanent digital memorial to those who live through and fought in the First World War. 

Kate Wood, Executive Director of Activate, said: “I am delighted that Activate will play a part in this significant national project and that Dorset will host events that offer the public an opportunity to participate in a special moment shared by many across the country. We are extending the invitation to everyone to join us in the lead up to and on November 11th."

Cllr Richard Kosior, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s briefholder for Tourism, said: “The council is proud to support the marking of the Armistice Centenary on 11th November, and hope that the residents of Weymouth will join us in taking part.”

Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said: "Danny Boyle has created a beautiful, poetic artwork that invites people across the UK to participate in a new nationwide gesture of remembrance on the centenary of Armistice Day. It is a fitting farewell to all of those who served and were affected by the First World War. I would like to thank Danny Boyle, Carol Ann Duffy and all our partners and funders for their help in realising this ambitious project."

The work is commissioned and produced by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, and delivered with partner organisations across the UK: Activate Performing Arts; Creative Foundation; Eden Project; National Theatre Scotland; National Theatre Wales; National Trust; Nerve Centre; and Sunderland Culture.

Supported by The National Lottery and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

With additional support from Backstage Trust, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch), National Rail and Vodafone Foundation.

Activate is core funded by Dorset County Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

The public can see which beaches are taking part by visiting


For further press information please contact:

Lyndsey Harvey
07761 950260

Written by lyndsey
Published on 3rd October 2018