Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

This is a commonplace spy-drama of the period, with its crude plot apparently woven out of newspaper reports of the suspicious doings of ‘alien enemies’ in coast towns and in society. The spy is Lady Violet, wife of Sir John Morton R. N. of Dover, and also, alas! of Von Room, an emissary of the German government. Her mission includes the drawing of secret plans, the installation of wireless telegraphy, and the introduction of carrier pigeons, to her and her Hun spouse is her English stepdaughter, who is duly something in the turret chamber of the Dover house and is in considerable danger until she is rescued by the gallant Naval Lieutenant to whom she is engaged. On the fair spy's failure she is shot by the villain just before he is himself threatened with long-delayed arrest. Foolish stuff but quite innocuous. Recommended for license. Ernest A. Bendall.

Researcher's Summary:

This is the same play as 'For Motherland', performances of which begin to be recorded in January 1917. 'Within Our Gates' was performed between May 1916 and January 1917. 'For Motherland' is described as a ‘new play’ in 'The Stage', (Thursday 4 and 11 January 1917); as a ‘new production’ in 'The Era', (Wednesday 24 January 1917 and Wednesday 7 February 1917); and as ‘the latest success’ in the 'Manchester Evening News', (Monday 5 February 1917).

Licensed On: 12 Apr 1916

License Number: 180

British Library Reference: LCP1916/8

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66129 M

Performances

DateTheatreType
1 May 1916 King’s Theatre, Longsight, ManchesterProfessional Licensed Performance
Read Narrative
The play was premiered here and performed through to at least 11 May. A review in the 'Manchester Evening News' commented that ‘'Within Our Gates', which is produced for the first time at the King’s Theatre, is a thrilling story of the menace this country by foreign spies. The authoress, Miss Dorothy Lloyd Townrow, has handled the subject in good style. Charles Locke’s company is a very strong one, the leads in particular being in the hands of the right people, of whom Mr. Locke and Miss Cynthia Merton are the most prominent' (2 May 1916). In 'The Era' a critic commented that ''Within Our Gates' is, as its title suggests, a drama dealing with the spy peril during the present period war, and pointing its moral (that German spies should be rooted out) by a lurid example of enemy treachery on the eve of the outbreak in August 1914. Plot and characters are much the same as we have grown well acquainted with during this prolific season of war plays' (3 May 1916). 'The Stage' was not as positive and commented that 'War episodes are plentiful on the melodramatic stage, and are now beginning to lose the early grip they had at the commencement of the war. The authoress of 'Within Our Gates' is apparently not an adept at stage technique, and too-often repetition of sentences is to be heard' (11 May 1916).
1 Jun 1916 Theatre Royal, LeicesterProfessional
Read Narrative
The play was performed here from 1-3 June as part of the repertoire: 'Mr. Charles Locke’s company is presenting here this week for the first three nights 'A Mother’s Mite', and for the remainder of the week'Within Our Gates'' ('The Era', 31 May 1916).
5 Jun 1916 Prince's Theatre, BradfordProfessional
Read Narrative
This week the play was presented twice nightly. The company included: Charles Locke (his company), Charles Elton Morgan (actor), Clare O’Sullivan (actress), Fred Lillywhite (actor), Gilbert Hall (actor), J. B. Garrickford (sic - actor), Frank Preston (actor).
15 Jun 1916 Theatre Royal, DewsburyProfessional
Read Narrative
The play was performed in the latter half the week: 'A Motherless Mite' (Mon., Tues., and Wed.) and 'Within Our Gates' (Thurs., Fri., and Sat.)’.
29 Dec 1916 Pavilion Theatre, AshingtonProfessional
Read Narrative
The play was staged as a one-night 'special'. ('Morpeth Herald', 22 December 1916)
29 Dec 1916 Pavilion Theatre, AshingtonProfessional
Read Narrative
The play was staged as a one-night 'special'. ('Morpeth Herald', 22 December 1916)
4 Jan 1917 Royal Theatre and Opera House, LeighProfessional
Read Narrative
Charles Locke’s company performed for three nights in 'A Motherless Mite' and in 'Within Our Gates' for the remainder of the week.