Former soldier’s exhibition of art at Norwich Theatre Royal
PUBLISHED: 19:22 07 May 2014
copyright: Archant 2014
One of the performers in The Two Worlds of Charlie F has turned to painting as well as acting to express his experiences as a soldier.
Lt Col (Retired) Stewart Hill, who plays Major Daniel Thomas in the show currently at Norwich Theatre Royal, also has an exhibition of his work at the city theatre.
Stewart, who is currently rehabilitating in Nottingham and who was medically discharged from the Armed Forces in 2012, was in the Royal Welsh Regiment and served in the UK, Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan.
On July 4 2009, he was leading 160 men in a close combat fight against the Taliban in some of the fiercest fighting seen by UK forces in Afghanistan. He led from the front and eight hours later medics battled to save his life after shrapnel from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) tore into his brain.
He said being part of The Two Worlds of Charlie F has helped him regain his motivation, desire and appreciation of life, and that he also found that painting helped him with deal with his depression.
“It helped me escape. Just producing a drawing or painting and making it as accurate as you can requires so much focus that you don’t have to worry about other things,” he said.
About his paintings, he said: “I paint what I know. It was some advice I heard and I remembered it. For some people it may be household objects, for example. For me, it is war. I want to show war in its honesty in the way that The Two Worlds of Charlie F is. I want to show the emotional impact of war.
“I don’t want to be a war artist or glorify war. Equally, I don’t want to portray its brutality. I just want it to be real from an emotional and physical sense.”
• Stewart’s paintings are on display at Norwich Theatre Royal all this week.