Art is set to imitate life next month at the Lichfield Garrick when a real life mother and son take on the role of mother and son for the first time on stage. Denise and Nick Baker are two of the Lichfield Players’ cast who will be performing The Accrington Pals at the Castle Dyke venue from March 24. Peter Whelan’s World War 1 play tells the moving story of the men of Accrington who enthusiastically volunteer their services in answer to Kitchener’s call for a New Army, and are sent to the front to fight. The play simultaneously focuses on the women left behind on the brink of radical change. “I’ve been in four productions with Nick since he joined the society in 2012 but never as his mum,” said Denise. “Playing out the relationship between Annie and Reggie is a really uncomfortable place to be. Annie is hard and unforgiving and is quite physically abusive to her son which is challenging. “But being a mother in the play alongside wives, lovers and daughters also makes you see things from a very different perspective – a woman’s perspective of emotional struggle and loss. “I’m very proud my Grandpa fought in World War 2, but since rehearsals started I’m now very conscious of how frightened my Grandma must have been, being left behind on her own with a small baby.” Nick, a year 9 pupil at King Edward VI School, Lichfield, has been studying World War 1 and is due to visit the Belgium Battlefields next month. “We’ve been learning about the trenches and the conditions for soldiers and people’s view of the war from all sides,” he said. “No one knew how devastating it would be – everyone thought it would all be over by Christmas. “For me, the play adds to understanding the emotional side of war – not just the facts. How the soldiers felt going, how scared people at home were. My character changes from a mischievous little boy into to a young man with responsibility almost overnight. It makes me appreciate how lucky we are.” The Lichfield Players’ production of The Accrington Pals opens at the Lichfield Garrick on March 24 for a five-night run. Tickets are priced at £12 (concessions £11 and £9). To book, call the Lichfield Garrick Box Office on 01543 412121 or visit www.lichfieldgarrick.com.