Page extent: 96
ISBN: 9781783197699
Binding: PaperBack

The 306: Dawn

Oliver Emanuel

PaperBack (24 May 2016)

The 306: Dawn is a new piece of music theatre from the National Theatre of Scotland. Based on real events, it charts the heart-breaking journey of three of the three hundred and six British soldiers who were executed for cowardice, desertion and mutiny during World War I (1914-18).


'You are a fucking coward and you will go to the trenches. I give fuck all for my life and I give fuck all for yours and I’ll get you fucking well shot' – Sergeant to Harry Farr.

Joseph Byers (17) from Glasgow.
Too young to enlist, Joe, like so many at the time, has lied about his age to join the other men at the front. However, his dreams of being a solider are quickly destroyed by the brutal realities of trench warfare and he soon finds himself in trouble with the authorities.

Private Harry Farr (25) from London.
Traumatised by the things he has seen and lived through as a serving soldier, Harry is suffering from shell shock and is now unable to fight. He has subsequently been convicted of cowardice, and as he waits to hear his fate, he dreams of his wife and hopes for a last minute reprieve.

 Lance-Sergeant Joseph Willie Stones (24) from Durham.
Having used his rifle to block the entrance to a trench during fierce fighting, Joseph stands accused of casting away his arms in combat - an offence punishable by death. He thought he was protecting his men, but the top brass want to make an example of him to maintain discipline in the ranks.

With a contemporary score performed live by the Red Note Ensemble, the songs explore the vulnerability and devastation of the battlefields, alongside the inner struggles of the men.

Poignant and powerful, The 306: Dawn will be performed in a transformed barn in the Perthshire countryside. 

Additional Information

ISBN13 9781783197699
Binding PaperBack
Page Extent 96


'the imagery drawn from Emanuel's writing is gentler and more vulnerable as it betrays the fear and horror of cannon fodder packed off to a foreign land, with some of those fighting for a cause they could barely comprehend not long out of short trousers... It is driven too by the sweep of Gareth Williams' score, in which the actors part sing their lines accompanied by Red Note Ensemble members... Josef Davies, Scott Gilmour and Joshua Miles play Harry, Joe and Willie with an unerring grace in this most brilliantly moving of elegies.' The Herald Scotland

'the first part of a proposed trilogy telling the story of the 306 soldiers shot for desertion during the First World War... The piece is a fitting remembrance of injustices commited a century ago' The Stage

'it’s nothing if not ambitious. Alongside its undeniably atmospheric location, The 306: Dawn weaves together a new script by Glasgow-based playwright Oliver Emanuel... It tells the true stories, dug up from archives, of three young Great War soldiers court martialled and executed by their own comrades for cowardice or desertion... It does the memories of these three soldiers (and of the 303 others executed for similar reasons) enormous service in simply telling their stories, and bearing witness to their deaths... It’s a harrowing, poignant, often unbearably moving production.' The Arts Desk