Since 2013, The Veterans Project has used the methodology of embodied historiography to stage ten original performances with veterans of the United States and United Kingdom Armed Forces. They come from a range of socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds who served in the US and UK Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Ranging in age from 22 to 70, the veterans who have worked with this project have served in varying capacities including: paratrooper, military police, loadmaster, nuclear biological chemical specialist, helicopter captain, air defense, intelligence, recruiter, chaplain, medic, and infantry. Each performance of The Veterans Project has been completely unique. The Veterans Project challenges the oversimplification of veteran narratives and unapologetically gives each performer the space to use their own voice. The Veterans Project utilizes the unique act of performance to challenge established narratives around historical events on micro and macro levels, ultimately disrupting the monolithic and uniform discourse surrounding the veteran experience, and blurring the line between historical subject and historian.The Veterans Project shows its audiences that veterans are as diverse as are the countries they defend.
Eight of these performances were presented under the title “The Veterans Project,” which eschews a script in favor of real conversation. These featured distinct unscripted storytelling forums in which veterans shared their experiences with one another in an improvised setting, alongside photographs, iconography, material culture objects (uniforms, medals, equipment, etc.) and video excerpts. During rehearsals and the performance, veterans use various video and media presented onstage as a catalyst for dialogue and story-sharing. Three of these performances were presented under the titled “Odyssey Home.” These scripted performances combined the writing of military veterans (either purposefully for the performance or excerpts from letters and journal entries) with text from Homer’s Odyssey. Each performance is the product of a series of workshops, rehearsals, and story gathering events led by Dr. Hughes and local on-site collaborators.