Lest We Forget: Hic Unutmaya Cagiz
“It was a brilliant production and we will certainly book Jan again. I was very impressed with how Jan involved our students in the presentation. Jan had total control, they were silent, listened attentively, and the questions were deep and meaningful.”
The Show: LEST WE FORGET: HIC UNUTMAYA CAGIZ (LWF) is music/storytelling theatre, with a unique re-telling of the Gallipoli story, using both Turkish and Australian material, and contextualized within WW1.
Five students take part of the show. (Scripts sent in advance.)
Duration: 55 minutes plus questions/discussion
Curriculum: For Primary and Secondary students studying Anzacs and Australia’s involvement in World War One, also Arts & English (Speaking & Listening)
Primary: Suitable for years 5-6
Secondary: VELS year 9-10 / NAT year 9 (Modern World)
Cost: $4.50 per student. Minimum $450 per show/ 10% discount for extra shows on same day.
A travel/accom. loading may apply in some locations.
Using both Turkish and Australian song, poetry, oral history, maps and political statements, Jan tells two sides of the Gallipoli story, linking them with his personal experiences from Gallipoli in 2003, when he performed LEST WE FORGET – HIC UNUTMAYA CAGIZ before 8,000 people awaiting the Dawn Service.
The show is structured around four events: the April landing, the May truce, the August offensive and the December evacuation.
The Australian material comes from poets CJ Dennis and Mary Gilmore, the ABC archives of Bill Harney, songwriters Ted Egan and Eric Bogle, and traditional songs from the time.
The Turkish material is drawn from poets Nazim Hikmet and Bulent Ecevit, traditional song, and from the words of Turkish hero, Mustafa Kemal Attaturk.
By bringing both sides together LEST WE FORGET: HIC UNUTMAYA CAGIZ presents a story where our Anzac legend is enlarged by the Turkish legend of how enemy soldiers found respect for each other, and how that respect led to the friendship that Australia and Turkey share today.
Jan also asks students to think about questions such as was Gallipoli the ‘birth of a nation?’, and compares Australia’s Gallipoli identity to Turkey’s, via Mustafa Kemal Attaturk, the commander against the Anzacs who became their President.
Teacher & Other Recommendations
“The performance was excellent; varied and relaxed, but quite structured. Having students involved showed that this was cool. The stories challenged the students to think, and it was great for SOSE, Australian History and English.” (Horsham Memorial SC)
“Fitted in with the study of war in Year 9 History, and as an alternative to class work gave expression to other ‘intelligences’. The music gained a very positive response from students, It was commendable to weave in the Turkish perspective. The participation kept the group engaged with a feeling of sharing the event.” (Xavier College)
“It was a clear, simple outline of what happened at Gallipoli…the students were really engaged and attentive, and the discussion afterwards was really positive…very positive feedback from staff who attended.” (Sue Wooley, Fintona Girls School, Balwyn)
“Excellent. Gave students a hands-on and visual experience of Gallipoli and events surrounding this time. Students responded really well to Jan as they were genuinely interested in the presentation.” (Jayne Sheumack, St Francis Xavier College)
“Excellent. This provided students with an overview of Gallipoli, and a solid basis from which to begin their study. The student behaviour was a solid indication of their interest and respect for Jan.” (Sarah Morgan, Ringwood Secondary College)
“It fitted our curriculum perfectly. The combination of narrative, song, poetry, student involvement, and props actively engaged the students and allowed them to consider the Gallipoli ‘experience’ from different points of view. They were thoroughly engaged and interested!” (Catherine Judd, Siera College)
“Some of the students were unsure what to expect but once Jan started they were very interested. The songs were really clever, and the students enjoyed the participation aspect. Thanks for coming out, I really enjoyed the performance.” (Angela Marsden, Lilydale High School)
“An excellent combination of role-playing, music, poetry and visuals, and the girls enjoyed being an integral part of the performance. The stories came from the finest form of oral tradition, and we’d definitely invite Jan back to do more.” (Alex Radovanovic, Melbourne Girls Grammar)
“Great for SOSE/ Australian history/ English. Jan held their attention extremely well, and the stories challenged the students to think. Involving students was fantastic as students related to their peers.” (Shirl King, Dimboola Secondary College)
“Students loved the show and they thought Jan was great, and having students involved in the performance showed that this was cool. The performance was excellent; varied and relaxed but quite structured.” (Neil King, Horsham College)
“Very good. Provides a pleasing alternative to class work and gave some freedom and expression to other ‘intelligences’. The rapport with the students was really positive, and the large groups after recess and lunch were managed very effectively.” (Graham O’Rourke, Xavier College)
“Thanks you for giving Lest We Forget as the keynote presentation at the HTAV’s 25th Anniversary Conference. I heard lots of positive comments, some of whom said it was moving and informative as well as entertaining. I think academic conferences benefit from an artistic perspective and I think participants would have had their hearts and imaginations kindled by your performance. Thanks you also for being well organised and making the process so smooth from an administrator’s point of view.” (Ingred Purnell, History Teachers’ Association of Victoria)
“AS a context for students to explore and understand Australian history it was excellent.” (Ian Tymms, Woodleigh School)
“Jan’s use of primary sources, such as literature and song from the period, provided students with the Turkish and Australian perspectives untainted by time or the subjective nature of historical analysis. It was a great way of learning, and can have a greater impact on younger students who sometimes have a negative view of history.” (Gerry Martin, Port Phillip Leader)
“I have seen Jan’s Lest We Forget performance twice. Once in a venue at Eceabat and then again at the Dawn Service with a group of fellow travellers to Gallipoli. I can say with certainty that its combination of shared commemoration with the Turks, its multi-layered tributes to the spirit of reconciliation and the memory of those who were sacrificed moved everyone present.
Jan’s work is ingenious in being able to capture both the Anzac and Turkish experience and present it in a way that is totally accessible, engaging, and respectful but at the same time quietly theatrical. His pre-Dawn Service performance is in perfect harmony with the occasion and provides the gathering with an appropriate level of focus, sensitive to the tone of the occasion. Jan is a true latter day troubadour in the tradition of Australian Bush poets and Turkish ‘ozans’ and “ashiks’. I hope he can become a regular fixture at Anzac Cove’s Dawn Service.”
(Harvey Broadbent, author and producer of Gallipoli writings and documentaries)
VELS & National Curriculum details
VELS: 9-10. NAT 9 (Modern World)
LWF is devised to fit in with student’s study of WW1, with the focus on Gallipoli as a touchstone of both Australian and Turkish identity.
In LWF Jan asks students to think about questions such as Was Gallipoli the ‘birth of a nation?’, and compares Australia’s Gallipoli identity to Turkey’s direct national link via Mustafa Kemal Attaturk, the commander against the Anzacs who became their President.
By hearing this conflict from both sides, students will find that their sense of the Anzac legend is enlarged, not diminished; and from the stories of the May 1915 truce as well as Jan’s personal experiences at Gallipoli, students will come to understand how the respect between the Turk and Anzac soldiers led to the friendship we share with Turkish people today.
English VELS Level 4/5/6
LWF employs various forms of storytelling: straight narrative, oral history, poetry, song, characters, political statements and questions that invite the audience into the story, which makes LWF relevant to many of the Curriculum Focus points listed under Linguistic Structures and Features.
As a listening show it’s useful in developing students ability to listen to spoken texts and to identify strategies used by speakers to influence a particular audience.
The distinct Turkish and Australian voices can also be useful to the study of different linguistic structures and features of different types of texts.
Drama VELS Level 4/5/6
LWF is storytelling theatre – non-naturalistic and using maps, music, poetry and song – and is an example of Jan’s particular way of telling a story and creating theatre at the same time.
For Arts Practice, LWF can be used as a study of the ways in which scenes/plays/characters are developed, and for a discussion of how various theatrical and musical styles and conventions are employed in the show.
Because students join Jan on stage, the show addresses the curriculum area of acting skills, and Level 6 may do a review of the piece.
Music VELS 4/5/6
In LWF Jan plays banjo and bodhran (Irish drum) and employs simple and powerful folk songs to help tell a story, which will add to students appreciation of the range of styles that are used to move an audience. ?