Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

[The Examiner's notes for this script are missing from the file at the British Library]

Researcher's Summary:

On 27 September 1917 The Stage announced that ‘An entirely new, up-to-date play, by Arthur Jefferson, entitled “Home from the Trenches”' was to be produced. This was first performed on 20 May 1918 at the Grand Theatre, Nottingham. Yet there is no record of the play being licensed under this name. Jefferson revised the play in November 1918 to reflect the armistice and it was licensed under this name in December 1918. On 28 November 1918 The Stage advertised a 'Revised, Up-to-date Version' of Home From The Trenches 'conforming with the Peace Conditions, and re-entitled Back to Wife and Home'. Later performances in January-March 1919 used the revised version of the play but kept the original title (see The Era, 5 March 1919 and The Stage, 6 March 1919 which advertised the play as Home From The Trenches, adding ‘Note, - if preferred, can be played under the title, Back to Wife and Home’). Advertisements stressed that it was not a ‘war play’, even before the post-armistice changes were made. The Stage stated on 17 October 1918 that it was ‘Not a War Play, but a purely domestic story which, by changing the title and the character of the one soldier will “appeal” long after Germany has been brought to her knees’. On 9 January 1919 The Stage requested, ‘Once again, will Managers kindly note that Trenches is not a War play. Only one “soldier”, who leaves for France after the armistice celebrations for “clearing-up work” at the end of Act 1, returning, finally discharged, [at] the end of Act 2. Beyond these incidents, the story is of a purely domestic nature’. The play was performed in the main by Will H. Glaze’s company but it was also licensed to other producers including Maggie Morton, Albert Semper and the Stock Company of the Grand Theatre, Plymouth.

Licensed On: 2 Dec 1918

License Number: 1890

British Library Reference: LCP1918/20

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66202 U

Performances

DateTheatreType
20 May 1918 Grand Theatre, NottinghamProfessional
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‘Topical drama is again the fare the Nottingham Grand Theatre next week, viz.: Mr. Arthur Jefferson’s latest production, “Home from the Trenches”. The characters include a pro- German profiteer, a shirker and a cad, a soldier who did his bit in the Boer War and five members of the Metropolitan Police’. Nottingham Journal, 18 May 1918. ‘Of war-time plays there is seemingly no end. Still, “Home from the Trenches”, which Mr. Will Glaze’s company brings to the Grand this week, is worthy of a place. Profiteers and shirkers are both much in evidence and duly discredited. Mr. B. Wilson interprets Corporal Devaison [sic, Dennison] with discrimination, and Miss Ada Oakley imparted the necessary sympathy and charm to the character of his hapless wife’. Nottingham Journal, 18 May 1918.
17 Jun 1918 Grand, West HartlepoolProfessional
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‘A stirring story of love and war, entitled “Home from the Trenches”, was presented by Mr. Will H. Glaze’s company at the Grand Theatre last night to large and appreciative audiences. The drama is full of human pathos, and is acted by a very capable company. Mr. Wilfrid Launceston, as Corporal Dennison, and Miss Ada Oakley, his wife, interpret their parts in an admirable fashion, and Mr. Edgar T. Hayes, as Neville Hardman, and Mr. Chas. E Johnson, as his uncle, are also very clever. The rest the cast is in capable hands. Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail, 18 June 1918.
24 Jun 1918 Theatre Royal, HalifaxProfessional
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Performed as Home From The Trenches. Mentioned in advertisements in The Stage, 27 June 1918 and The Era, 26 June 1918.
1 Jul 1918 Theatre Royal, DewsburyProfessional
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Performed as Home From The Trenches. Mentioned in advertisements in The Stage, 27 June 1918 and The Era, 26 June 1918.
8 Jul 1918 Grand Theatre, CroydonProfessional
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‘The attraction at the Croydon Theatre this week is provided by Miss Betty Seymour’s company in Mr. Arthur Jefferson’s latest play, “Home From The Trenches”, which, as its name indicates, is quite topical, and the robust and patriotic sentiments set out received the unstinted approval of the large audience assembled on Monday night. Miss Betty Seymour enacts the difficult rôle of Myra Gray, the infatuated victim of Neville Hardman, cleverly and consistently throughout. Mr. Chas. E. Johnson as the callous and overbearing German profiteer, Silas Hardman, also gave an excellent performance. Mr. Edgar T. Hayes as the shirker, Neville Hardman, did well; as did J. Spencer as Peter Wilson. Mr. Wilfred Launceston as Corporal Dennison was a great favourite. Mr. Richard Wilson was well cast as Charlie Goodall, and Mr. Harry Emmerson convulsed the audience as the loquacious Horace Hopkins. Miss Ada Oakley made a pretty and appealing heroine of Bessie Dennison, Miss L. Addison was very good as Pattie Hopkins, and Miss Nellie Wilson gave a clever character sketch as Muriel Miranda Peabody, a lady of leisure. The other characters were competently played’. The Era, 10 July 1918. ‘Great interest is taken by the large audiences in the new play, “Home from the Trenches.” It shows the perils of wives whose husbands are called to the trenches, and how steadfastly they resist them. Mr. Charles E. Johnson takes the role of “Silas Hardman,” a pro-German profiteer, who laughs at patriotism, and thinks only of his pocket, while his scoundrel nephew, “Neville Hardman,” who seeks the ruin of “Bessie Dennison,” Miss Ada Oakley, is well played by Mr. Edgar T. Hayes. Mr. J. Spencer is “Peter Wilson,” too old to fight, and “Corpl. Dennison,” the hero and saviour of his wife, is Mr. Wilfred Launceston. “Pattie Hopkins,” Mrs. Dennison’s friend, is presented by Miss L. Addison, and “Horace Hopkins,” the old Boer soldier, full of reminiscences, is portrayed by Mr. Harry Emmerson. Miss Nellie Wilson and Miss Billy Seymour do well as “Muriel Peabody,” lady of leisure, and “Myra Gray.” The other parts are well represented. The piece is a powerful melodrama, and is received with hearty applause’. Surrey Mirror, 12 July 1918.
15 Jul 1918 ?, Brixton, LondonProfessional
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Performed as Home From The Trenches. Mentioned in an advertisement in The Stage, 18 July 1918.
22 Jul 1918 ?, ColchesterUnknown
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Performed as Home From The Trenches. Mentioned in The Stage, 25 July 1918.
29 Jul 1918 Alexandra Theatre, BirminghamProfessional
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‘It was inevitable that various phases of the great war should be adapted to the stage, and the incidents embodied in the drama entitled “Home from the Trenches” produced last night at the Alexandra Theatre by Mr. W. H. Gaze’s [sic, Glaze’s] company were witnessed with appreciation. The play centres around the despicable conduct of Silas Hardman, a pro-German profiteer, who imperils his liberty by his active endeavours to help the enemies of his country, and by the equally reprehensible conduct of his nephew Neville, who nothing but a shirker and a cad. The proofs of the villainy of both are acquired by Myra Gray, one of Neville’s victims, and also through the attempts of the latter to bring within his power the wife of a soldier. The story, in its development, contains exciting situations, all of which are drawn in an interesting manner with the object of asserting the loyalty of the women of this country to defend the honour of their husbands and to help to carry on the war during their absence'. Birmingham Daily Post, 30 July 1918. ‘Gratifying success at the Alex., Birmingham. July 29 (last). Gross £461. Week before the holiday; very fine and hot several nights, and the munition workers back to work, following the strike!’. The Era, 14 August 1918.
5 Aug 1918 Theatre Royal, LeedsProfessional
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‘“Home from the Trenches” is being staged at the Theatre Royal - twice nightly. No title could better indicate the sort of fare to be expected. Corporal Dennison (Mr. Wilfrid Launceston) makes a most dramatic entry when the machinations of the villain are reaching the climax. There is realism in the soldier’s get-up. You might, indeed, imagine that it was the real thing, mud and all. He comes just in time to save the good name of his wife, and keep the happy home intact; and the discomfiture of the scheming stay-at-home makes delightful hilarity for the crowd, who always love to see virtue triumphant’. Yorkshire Post, 6 August 1918. ‘“Home from the Trenches”, a new war play drama, presented at the Theatre Royal by Mr. Will H. Glaze’s company, is well furnished with incidents both stirring and pathetic’. Yorkshire Evening Post, 6 August 1918.
9 Aug 1918 Corn Exchange, WallingfordProfessional
9 Aug 1918 [No Theatre Listed], Professional
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Performed as Home From The Trenches. Mentioned in the Berks and Oxon Advertiser, 2 and 9 August 1918. N.B. An advertisement in The Stage, 27 June 1918 for “Home from the Trenches” mentioned, ‘Miss Maggie Morton who saw the “show” during its production week immediately secured the rights for her circuit’.
12 Aug 1918 Theatre Royal, SheffieldProfessional
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‘Next Week’s Amusements … “Home from the Trenches” is the title of the moral lesson play booked for the Theatre Royal’. Sheffield Evening Telegraph, 9 August 1918. ‘“Home from the Trenches” greatly interested a large audience last night at the Theatre Royal’. Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 13 August 1918.
26 Aug 1918 Theatre, NorthwichProfessional
26 Aug 1918 [No Theatre Listed], Professional
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Home From The Trenches is on tour 26 August at Northwich. The Stage, 29 August 1918.
2 Sep 1918 Theatre Royal, StratfordProfessional
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Home From The Trenches is on tour 2 September at R., Stratford. The Stage, 29 August and 5 September 1918..
9 Sep 1918 Empire Theatre, EdmontonProfessional
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Home From The Trenches is on tour 9 September at E., Edmonton. The Stage, 5 September 1918.
16 Sep 1918 Opera House, DudleyProfessional
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Home From The Trenches is on tour 16 September at O.H., Dudley. The Stage, 12 September 1918.
30 Sep 1918 Metropole Theatre, GlasgowProfessional
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‘Splendid Holiday Attraction. Mr. Will H. Glaze Presents the Great Moral Lesson Play, entitled “Home From The trenches”. By Arthur Jefferson. A Play dealing with the present-day Social Problem, exposing, frankly and fearlessly, the social dangers besetting innocent girls and young married women, which everyone interested, both in their own welfare and the moral teaching and guidance of our future motherhood, should see’. Daily Record, 30 September 1918. ‘Mr. Arthur Jefferson’s play, “Home from the Trenches,” which occupies the stage at the Metropole, deals frankly with the Social Problem in a telling and yet delicate manner. The story is one of great interest and power, and presents a great moral lesson for all. Mr. Will H. Glaze’s company has been admirably chosen, all interpreting their parts with talent and discrimination’. Daily Record, 1 October 1918. Several managers thanked for (re)booking the play, including at the Met. Glasgow ‘where last visit we played to well over £600’. The Stage, 16 January 1919.
7 Oct 1918 Gaiety, MethilProfessional
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Mentioned in an advertisement in The Stage, 17 October 1918 which contains a quote from the Methil Mail (no date given): ‘Home From the Trenches. – While Mrs. Grundy presided over our public life, nobody dared touch on life’s scandals and perils; but we have got beyond that – life as it is stands exposed in the Press and the theatre. The Gaiety Theatre this week submits the frankest and most fearless exposure of the perils besetting innocent girls and young married women yet brought to the East of Fife. The war, with its break of years in the home life of so many, has made this play opportune and adapted to every part of the globe. It introduces the soldier and his home: the scoundrel who would seek to ruin the happiness of the man risking his life for his country: and gives also sketches of many other characters in our daily life. The plot is clever and ably presented’.
14 Oct 1918 Royal Theatre, South ShieldsProfessional
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‘“Home from the Trenches”, the play this week at the Theatre Royal, South Shields, deals with a question having special reference to the social problem arising out of the war. It tells how a well-to do young rake, who has escaped from military service by the bribes of his profiteering uncle, ruins a trusting young woman whom he had promised to marry, and how he is thwarted in his guilty passion for a young married woman whose husband has been sent to the front. The play is constructed on sensational lines, and keeps the audience in an excited mood during most of the scenes'. Shields Daily News, 15 October 1918.
21 Oct 1918 Chipping Norton Town Hall, Chipping NortonProfessional
21 Oct 1918 [No Theatre Listed], Professional
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Performed as Home From The Trenches. Mentioned in the Oxfordshire Weekly News, 16 October 1918.
21 Oct 1918 Prince's Theatre, BradfordProfessional
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Mentioned in The Stage, 17 October 1918.
28 Oct 1918 Empire Theatre, BarnsleyProfessional
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Advertisement for Home From The Trenches, ‘the play with the human touch’, by Arthur Jefferson: ‘This, Emp., Barnsley'. The Stage, 31 October 1918.
4 Nov 1918 Grand, DoncasterProfessional
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Mentioned in an advertisement in The Stage, 31 October 1918.
11 Nov 1918 Grand Theatre, StocktonProfessional
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Advertisement for the Grand Theatre, Stockton: ‘Twice Nightly. Mr. Will H. Glaze presents the Great Moral Lesson Play, entitled “Home From The Trenches”. (By Arthur Jefferson)’. N.B. no definite performance date(s) mentioned. (North-Eastern) Daily Gazette (for Middlesbrough), 13 and 16 November 1918.
11 Nov 1918 Theatre Royal, SunderlandProfessional
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Advertisements for the Theatre Royal, Sunderland for Albert Semper’s company in Home from the Trenches, twice nightly. Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 11, 12 and 14 November 1918.
18 Nov 1918 New Theatre, CreweProfessional
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Advertisement for the New Theatre, Crewe: ‘Monday, November 18th, 1918, and during the week … Mr. Will H. Glaze presents the Great Moral Play, entitled “Home From The Trenches”, By Arthur Jefferson. Every Woman should see this Play’. Nantwich Guardian, 15 November 1918.
25 Nov 1918 Opera House, BurtonProfessional
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Mentioned in advertisement in The Stage, 21 November 1918.
2 Dec 1918 Victoria Opera House, BurnleyProfessional
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Performed as Home From The Trenches, although mentioned in an advertisement in The Stage, 28 November 1918 under the title Back to Wife and Home. ‘The boards of the Victoria Opera Home this week are occupied by the up-to-date drama, described as a moral play, entitled "Home from the Trenches," by Arthur Jefferson. It is a play full of incident, and dealing, as it does, with the victimisation of a soldier’s wife whilst he is away fighting, it appeals to the sentimental side to an unusual degree. The plot is full of incident. Corporal Frank Denison leaves his wife at home while he answers his country's call. Her good looks attract the attention of a slacker and a cad, Neville Hardman, who lures her to his home with the assistance of his former mistress, Myra Gray, disguised as a hospital nurse, on the excuse of repairs to. the flat. Fortunately, Frank, who returned on leave, discovers his wife (Bessie's) whereabouts, goes to the house, and rescues her. A fight between the two men ensues, in which Neville tries to shoot the soldier, but in the struggle the revolver goes off, injuring the villain. Denison thinks he has killed Hardman, but it transpires that another with a grudge against Hardman actually killed him. Eventually all ends happily. The piece is well produced by Mr. Will H. Glaze, and the company leaves nothing to be desired'. Burnley Express, 4 December 1918.
9 Dec 1918 Alexandra Theatre, HullProfessional
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Mentioned under the title Home From The Trenches in advertisements in the Hull Daily Mail, 9-13 December 1918.
9 Dec 1918 Palace, NewcastleProfessional
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Performed as Home From The Trenches, although an advertisement in The Stage, 28 November 1918 uses the title Back to Wife and Home. ‘An interesting drama of the present day was staged at the Palace Theatre last evening under the title of “Home From the Trenches.” It is a story of the period following the signing of the armistice, and tells of the troubles which beset the family life of a young soldier on his return from the front. Mr Will H. Glaze occupies a leading role in the play’. Newcastle Journal, 10 December 1918.
16 Dec 1918 Theatre Royal, SmethwickUnknown Licensed Performance
16 Dec 1918 Theatre Royal, SmethwickProfessional
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Mentioned in advertisements in The Stage, 21 and 28 November 1918 and the Birmingham Daily Gazette, 18 December 1918. The 28 November 1918 advertisement in The Stage uses the title Back to Wife and Home.
23 Dec 1918 Grand, MansfieldProfessional
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Mentioned in advertisements in The Stage, 28 November 1918 as Back to Wife and Home and 9 January 1919 as Home From The Trenches. ‘For the Christmas holidays Mr. Clayton has secured a most appropriate attraction. Mr. Will H. Glaze's great moral lesson play, "Home from the Trenches," by Jefferson. A play dealing with the present day social problem, exposing frankly and fearlessly the dangers besetting innocent girls and young married women, which everyone interested, both in their own welfare and the moral teaching and guidance of our future motherhood, should see. In addition to the gripping story there is an abundance of really excellent comedy running through the play’. Mansfield Reporter, 20 December 1918.
30 Dec 1918 Radcliffe Theatre, RadcliffeProfessional
30 Dec 1918 [No Theatre Listed], Professional
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Mentioned in advertisements in The Stage, 28 November 1918 as Back to Wife and Home and 9 January 1919 as Home From The Trenches.
6 Jan 1919 Hippodrome, Stoke-on-TrentProfessional
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Mentioned in advertisements in The Stage, 28 November 1918 as Back to Wife and Home and 9 and 16 January 1919 as Home From The Trenches. ‘Last week, Hippo., Stoke. Gross well over £300’. The Stage, 16 January 1919.
13 Jan 1919 Palace Theatre, RawtenstallUnknown
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Mentioned in advertisements in The Stage, 28 November 1918 as Back to Wife and Home and 9 and 16 January 1919 and in the ‘on tour’ listings in The Stage, 16 January 1919 as Home From The Trenches.
20 Jan 1919 [No Theatre Listed], Professional
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Mentioned as Home From The Trenches in an advertisement and in the ‘on tour’ listings in The Stage, 16 January 1919.
20 Jan 1919 Stanley Theatre, StanleyProfessional
27 Jan 1919 Theatre Royal, JarrowProfessional
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Performed as Back to Wife and Home. Mentioned in advertisements The Stage, 28 November and 5 December 1918 and 9 January 1919; and in the Jarrow Express, 24 January 1919. The 28 November and 5 December 1918 advertisements in The Stage, and the 24 January 1919 advertisement in the Jarrow Express, use the title Back to Wife and Home. ‘This week Mr. W. H. Glaze has been presenting “Back to Wife and Home" to large audiences'. Jarrow Express, 31 January 1919.
17 Feb 1919 Grand Theatre, PlymouthProfessional
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Mentioned in advertisements (‘Next week. Return of the Grand Stock Co. in “Home From The Trenches”’) in the Western Morning News, 10 February 1919 and The Era, 19 February 1919.
17 Feb 1919 Theatre Royal, CastlefordProfessional
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‘On Monday Will H. Glaze's company opened here with Home from the Trenches'. The Stage, 20 February 1919.
24 Feb 1919 Theatre Royal, WorcesterProfessional
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Mentioned in advertisements in The Stage, 9, 16, 23 and 30 January and 27 February 1919 as Home From The Trenches.
3 Mar 1919 Loughborough Theatre, LoughboroughProfessional
3 Mar 1919 [No Theatre Listed], Professional
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Mentioned as Home From The Trenches in an advertisement and in the ‘on tour’ listings in The Stage, 6 March 1919.
10 Mar 1919 New Theatre, PontypriddProfessional
10 Mar 1919 [No Theatre Listed], Professional
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Mentioned as Home From The Trenches in an advertisement in The Stage, 6 March 1919 and in the 'on tour' listings in The Stage, 6 and 13 March 1919; and as Back To Wife and Home in advertisements in The Stage, 13 and 20 March 1919 and in The Era, 12 March 1919.
24 Mar 1919 Theatre Royal, WolverhamptonProfessional
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Mentioned as Home From The Trenches in an advertisement in The Stage, 6 March 1919 and in the 'on tour' listings in The Stage, 20 and 27 March 1919. Mentioned as Back To Wife And Home in an advertisement in The Stage, 13 March 1919. Notice for the Royal, Wolverhampton: ‘Drama is a welcome change here, and Will H. Glaze's company with “Home From the Trenches" are much appreciated’. The Stage, 27 March 1919.