Great War Theatre

Great War Theatre in the media

It’s been a busy few months at the Great War Theatre project. In October Helen Brooks and the Western Front Players were filming for a new documentary Untold Stories of World War I. The documentary was produced by History HIT for the AHRC and presented by Dan Snow. It was a great day, and we were very… continued →

What I’m Finding… By Eleanor Bowen

Image of actress with large ruffled hat. She is turning to look at us over her right shoulder. The photo is in sepia.

In this entry, Eleanor Bowen, who has worked on the project for over a year, reflects on what she has found out about the theatre mentioned in her grandmother’s 1917 diary. My grandmother Gladys (Peggy) Simmons kept a diary 101 years ago, in 1917. She was 23 and passionate about theatre. The diary, a Liberty’s… continued →

Eva Elwes’ life and work during WW1 by Mary Newman

T. Edward Ward's Tours. Now in the 20th Year. Pals by Eva Elwes. Joy-Sister of Mercy by Eva Elwes. Verb, amp:0- 'only two losing weeks since production, Xmas 1914'. Forthcoming Xmas Production. A Striking Family Drama. Unique because so natural. A Wonderful Money-maker. Booking Spring 1916. Stock Season at Prince's, Portsmouth, in November. Address, T. Edward War, this, T. R. Lincoln; next, Queen's, Leeds.

A Prolific Playwright Eva Elwes was a prolific playwright and 17 of her 46 plays, submitted to the Lord Chamberlain for licensing, were written in 1914-18. As well as being a playwright Eva was also an actress in touring companies, sometimes acting in her own plays, such as: Mother Mine, His Mother’s Rosary, Joy Sister… continued →

Finding Eva by Mary Newman

Anyone who’s ever watched Who do you think you are? will know that ancestor hunting takes its subjects to unexpected places. It led me to Eva Elwes, playwright and actress, and my great-aunt. The chase has involved many hours searching genealogy resources and the British Newspaper Archive, a trip across the globe to the British Library… continued →

The war plays of a Belgian refugee by Ad van Der Logt

Abraham Hans Abraham Hans was a Flemish author of Dutch origin. From 1909 Hans had been a primary school teacher in Kontich, a community between the outer and inner fortifications of the Antwerp Fortress. However at the outbreak of the war the Hans family found it too dangerous to stay in Kontich. They had seen the… continued →

Tweeting 1917 by Eleanor Bowen

My grandmother Gladys (Peggy) Simmons kept a diary 100 years ago, between 1 January 1917 and the New Year’s party a year later when she got home at 2am on 1 January 1918, after ‘such a thrilling year’. She was 23 and passionate about theatre. The diary, a Liberty’s Shakespeare Calendar given to her for Christmas, allows… continued →

Cheerio Gretna: Theatre at the Factory by Stuart Gibbs

In this blog post, Stuart Gibbs, one of the project’s volunteers, shares his research into the burgeoning theatre scene in Gretna.  As commemorations for the Great War continue, great emphasis has been placed on the home front and in particular the experiences of the munitions workers. Of the many centres for arms production during this period… continued →