Etta's War- written by Jack Dickson
I've lived in Dennistoun since 1983: in a bedsit on Craigpark, in a tiny flat on Cumbernauld Road and finally on Whitehill Street. In 2016, I became aware that local army veteran and Haghill resident Jim Watson was campaigning to raise money to erect a memorial to the 875 men and boys from Dennistoun who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War 1. As part of this, Jim had painstakingly amassed an amazing amount of information about those men and boys, and their families - including their addresses – which he was kind enough to share with me. And, 100 years on, many of the buildings in Haghill and Dennistoun where the 875 lived, grew up, left and went to fight in “The War to End All Wars” are till here. This got me thinking about a play, based on the real lives of three of these men and boys – and about the connections between THEN and NOW.
Theatre is always a collaborative art and so I talked my idea over with director and actress Alison Peebles, who asked me one question which changed the the course of the play: “What about the women?”
And Etta's War was born.
Because there are many different types of sacrifice – some of which remain unacknowledged. Each of those men and boys had a mother, maybe a wife, a sister, maybe a daughter who were fighting their own wars, back on the streets and in the closes of Glasgow.
Fighting to keep their families strong.
Fighting to put food on their tables.
Fighting to ensure the factories stayed open and the wheels of commerce turned.
Fighting for the right for a say about what happened in their lives.
Fighting to hold their communities together in the face of a world which was changing for ever. A world which is still changing.
Etta's War is my salute to the women of Haghill. It's also a celebration of the women in my life – the women in ALL our lives – because their strength and sacrifice makes us the men and women, boys and girls we are today.
In September 2018, we held a staged reading of the play at The Bridge-Platform in Easterhouse. We have received very enthusiastic and encouraging feedback from the audience, which kept us going. Since then, Etta's War got more songs, costumes and we're extremely excited to present it to the public on June 28th as a focal point of our Salute! event.