SINGING stars Barbara Dickson and Siobhan Miller are to go on tour across Scotland in a multimedia production to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Far Far from Ypres will visit 10 venues across the country throughout the centenary of the final hundred days of the war, using the songs of the trenches to tell the story of the Scottish war effort. The closing performance will take place at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh on Armistice Day.

The show is delivered by WW100 Scotland in partnership with Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland.

Barbara Dickson is taking part in the show in memory of her uncle David Dickson, who enlisted while underage and was killed in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Yesterday she met with fellow cast members outside the Usher Hall to teach pupils from nearby Tollcross Primary School the lyrics to some of the songs and the stories behind them.

The cast of 26 performers, including other Scottish folk scene favourites such as Siobhan Miller, Dick Gaughan, Ian McCalman, Iain Anderson, Professor Gary West, Stephen Quigg and Ian Bruce, will visit Selkirk, Aberdeen, Oban, Portree, Ullapool, Dundee, Stirling, Inverness, Dumfries and Edinburgh – all of which were closely associated with Scottish regiments and at the heart of recruitment during the war.

The show was devised, written and produced by Ian McCalman of folk group The McCalmans to highlight the unique insight the songs offer into the life of a soldier. It shares the hope, suffering, endurance and fear associated with the war through the eyes of fictional, prototypical soldier, Jimmy MacDonald.

McCalman said: “During the war, soldiers sang together to bond and alleviate fear, sharing songs from contemporary music halls as well as creating their own.

“However, looking back on the music of the war today, we can see how attitudes towards the conflict changed over its course.

“From the early, jingoistic songs that promoted recruitment and betrayed an innocence about the reality of war, through to the resignation, black humour and resentment present in the later songs, the progression reflects the bitterness which grew among troops as they became disenchanted.

“The songs provide powerful context to key events in an era very different from our own, and with Far, Far From Ypres, we have harnessed their power and accessibility to bring the story of the war to our audience in an engaging, multimedia production that educates and lingers.”

The show will also incorporate stories about local men at each performance, which are being sourced as part of a community engagement project led by Legion Scotland.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, said: “The Far, Far From Ypres tour, part of the broader programme of activity to commemorate Scotland’s Armistice centenary, will ensure that we continue to learn more about and reflect on what we have learned from the First World War.”