Great War Theatre

New project findings published

In 2018 Helen Brooks, the Great War Theatre project lead, was delighted to be invited to present at the international colloquium, Revival after the Great War: Repair, Rebuild, Remember. Leuven (8-9 May 2018). Two years later the proceedings of the conference have been published in a free, downloadable, open access book: Revival after the Great War: Rebuild, Remember,… continued →

Fred Lumley and the Winter Carnival by Stuart Gibbs

The theatre community of the Great War was often involved in fundraising events. In 1917 and 1918, Edinburgh’s theatre community came together to raise large amounts of money through a series of carnivals. The first took place in the early months of 1917, and was organised by Edinburgh’s carnival impresario Fred Lumley. Fred Lumley Lumley… continued →

Making Connections

One of the delights of developing the Great War Theatre project has been the unexpected connections made. Last month I was contacted by a Devon GP, Dr Watkins, who had had been going through his father’s possessions after his death and come across a photo of his grandfather, Claude Watkins, during the First World War.… continued →

What I’m finding 2 by Eleanor Bowen

In this blog, Eleanor Bowen, who is researching her grandmother Gladys (Peggy) Simmons who kept a diary 102 years ago, in 1917, at the age of 23, updates us on her ongoing work. She shows how small references in Peggy’s diary have opened up new lines of research and discoveries about performers and theatres.  On Tuesday June… continued →

Malcolm Doolin (1950-2018) by Eve Wilson

In this blog we remember Malcolm Doolin  (16 February 1950 – 20 March 2018). Malcolm was one of the first volunteers on the Great War Theatre project, and a leading member of the group who developed the second phase of the project. His obituary is written by Eve Wilson who volunteered together with Malcolm, her… continued →

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 →