Great War Theatre

Performances at this Theatre

Date Script Type
29 Mar 1915 The Glorious Day Professional
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'Many tuneful and popular songs and dances, and much humorous business are interspersed with the dramatic scenes: and a brass band and number of enthusiastic youngsters all contribute with the excellent company to the undoubted success of the production.' (Evening Standard, 26 March 1915). ‘It is to be hoped that it will be the forerunner of actualities inasmuch as one tableau is representative of the entry of the Allies into Berlin and “a Glorious Peace”' (Coventry Telegraph, 30 March 1915). 'I do not really think it is desirable, at this moment, to put on the stage divide presentments of the bombardment and burning of Belgian cathedrals, or to show the death of a British ‘Tommy’ in a Belgian farmhouse, and the subsequent shooting of an aged priest by order of a German officer. The more realistic they are - and these scenes are very realistic and powerful - the worse the position becomes, in my opinion. […] Such scenes are not fitting subjects for stage representation when we have the horrible reality at our very door. All this, I agree, is merely a mater of personal opinion. I think, however, there will be a strong public centime in support' (Coventry Herald, 2 April 1915)
7 Jun 1915 In the Hands of the Hun [In the Hands of the Huns] Professional
5 Jul 1915 War and a Woman [Women and War] Professional
5 Jul 1915 War and a Woman [Women and War] Professional
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By this point, Joseph Millane had been replaced by John S. Millward as Frank Carson. Also in the cast were Mabel Rose, Mr J. Milne Taylor, Roland Bridge, A. Stretton, Oliver Seymour, Beatrice Shirley, Marie Desmond and Maisie Mignon.
4 Oct 1915 The Man Who Stayed At Home Professional
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‘To those who are continually itching to give a white feather to every able-bodied man they meet who has not been to the war a visit to the Opera House this week will show that it is possible that all the eligible who still remain at home are not slackers. The visit will likewise show how extensive are the ramifications of the German spy system, and how, under the guise of the most sincere friendship, the enemy might still exist in our midst, doing us incalculable harm. Both these points are strongly marked in the play, “The man who stayed at home,” which has had a very successful run at the Hales Street house this week’ (Coventry Standard, 8 October 1915). The cast was listed in the Coventry Standard, 1 October 1915.
20 Dec 1915 Married Midst Shot And Shell Professional
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Presented for the week by Stanley Ravenscroft and J. Wright.
17 Jan 1916 The Little Grey Home In The West Professional
3 Jul 1916 The Story of the Angelus Professional
10 Jul 1916 Joy - Sister of Mercy Professional
21 Aug 1916 The Black Sheep Of The Family Professional
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‘Next week’s attraction at the Opera House will be an entirely new production by Mr. Arthur Hinton, entitled “The Black Sheep of the Family.” The company is a strong one, embracing as it does such well-known names as J. Knox Orde as “Lionel Sylvester,” Mr. Arthur Hinton as “Ralph Sylvester, the Black Sheep,” Miss Ethel Monton as “Loyale Dare,” and Miss Gladys Hastings Walton (the authoress) as “Mary Leigh.” The dresses and costumes are a special feature. The drama is in six scenes and will be given in its entirety twice nightly, with a matinee on Saturday at 2.30’ (Coventry Herald, 18 August 1916; also the Coventry Evening Telegraph, 19 August 1916). ‘At both performances last night “The Black Sheep of the Family” completely filled the popular parts of the Opera House ... There are no dull moments in “The Black Sheep of the Family,” and a very great deal to admire. It is both a well-written and a well-produced play’ (Coventry Evening Telegraph, 22 August 1916).
28 Aug 1916 The Man Who Stayed At Home Professional
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The Era, 23 and 30 August 1916, listed The Man Who Stayed at Home (Red) as On The Road from 28 August at the O.H., Coventry. ‘A very large number of people last night witnessed the production at the Opera House of the successful spy play, “The Man Who Stayed at Home,” all parts of the building being crowded … [It] may be heartily recommended to people in search of an enjoyable evening. It is a fascinating play produced by a well-balanced and very able company. The atmosphere is altogether refreshing, and whether enemy spying is or is not as widespread as some newspapers appear to believe, the play serves a good public purpose in that it concentrates attention on a subject upon which many people feel strongly’. The cast was Clifford Marle (Christopher Brent), Valerie Richards (Miriam Leigh), Hilda Francks (Mrs Sanderson), C. H. Mortimer (Carl Sanderson), Russell Bendle (Fritz), Ethel Coleridge (Fraulein Schroeder), Greta Wood (Molly Preston), Edward Pearce (John Preston), C. Laverack-Brown (Percival Pennicuick [sic]), Malcolm Cumming (Corporal Atkins), Frances Waring (Miss Myrtle), and Edith Cuthbert (Daphne Kidlington). Coventry Evening Telegraph, 29 August 1916.
23 Oct 1916 The Bing Boys Are Here Professional
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'There are over 50 members in the company, the programme includes no less than 26: - Lucifer Bing, Mr. Dan Agar: Oliver Bing, Mr. Charles Westwood; Captain Slasher, Mr. Cedric Percival; Dancer, Miss Vera Wilkinson; Aurora Summertime, Miss Nita May; Mayor Bing, Mr. Ronald Burt Massey; Mrs. Bing, Miss Marie Chester; Captain Basil, Mr. George Rover; Zookeeper, Mr. Charles Percy; Lord Rip, Mr. Edward Glee; Lord Nip, Mr. Tom Glee; Lady Mayfair, Miss Alma Ellis; Flower Girl, Miss Gladys Gregory; Paper Boy, Miss Dorothy Cartwright; Flapper, Miss Doris Gorman; Town Crier. Mr. Frank Lynch; Parson, Mr. Bernard McGlynn; Village Idiot, Mr. Edward O’Flynn; the M.P., Mr. Thomas Ward; Duke of Dullwater, Mr. Arthur Morrison; First Waiter, Mr. Louis Frank; Wine Steward, Mr. Bert Lynn; Press Agent, Mr. Harold Waite; Baby, Miss Nita May; Goo-Goo, Miss Ethel George; and Emma, Miss Mabel Twemlow. Mr. Agar, Mr. Westwood and Miss Twemlow necessarily have a great deal to do with the success of the piece, but there are not only a large number of contributors, but many of them have important parts. For instance, the Four Wards finely sang glees, as well as being in solos; they also exhibited clever step-dancing. It is impossible in a short notice to refer to all the individual performances. There was a continuous succession of enjoyments by various players. Very properly may it be said that the whole combined to make one of the greatest attractions seen at the Opera House for some time. Wit and humour is in abundance, there is much excellent singing and admirable acting, a capital chorus, beautiful dresses, captivating scenes, and graceful dancing. A number of recalls were insisted upon. It was a fascinating picture on which the curtain finally fell - the stage being occupied by the whole company, who were charmingly attired. There was frequent change dress by the players, and that naturally added to the pleasure of the spectacles. “The Bing Boys” has a good plot and connected story running through, telling of the exploits of the two country bumpkins coming to London to see the sights, followed by Emma, their servant, who makes her way through life, gets introduced into swell restaurants, and so on to the stage, and finally marries a duke. Miss Twemlow was thoroughly delightful as actress, dancer and singer. Her’s was a marked personal triumph. Mr. Agar and Mr. Westwood were extremely popular. They kept the audience laughing over their sayings, acts and songs from beginning to end. All three were the recipients of constant appreciation, one of many hits scored by them in combination being with the song “Another little drink won’t do us any harm.” There are heavy bookings all the week, so that a full house should be ensured for all performances’. Coventry Evening Telegraph, 24 October 1916.
4 Dec 1916 His Mother's Rosary Professional
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'considered to be one of Miss Eva Elwes' best efforts' (Coventry Evening Telegraph, 1 December 1916)
12 Dec 1916 Brave Women Who Wait Professional
30 Jan 1917 The Fishermaid of Old St Malo Professional
26 Feb 1917 Within Our Gates [For Motherland] Professional
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‘At the Opera House, For Motherland, by Dorothy Lloyd Townrow, will be presented by Mr. Charles Locke’s company. The action of the play takes place during those fateful days of the outbreak of war, August 4th and 5th, 1914, and there are eight scenes. Two German secret service men and a lady spy and adventuress are prominent characters in the production’ (Coventry Evening Telegraph, 24 February 1917). 'Good houses last night [at the Opera House] witnessed the performance of For Motherland by Mr. Charles Locke’s Company. A lady is the author of the play - Dorothy Lloyd Townrow. The piece may be said to suggest itself. It takes us back to the beginning of the war, when German spies were striving to injure this country. Two of these undesirable people find themselves up against an English gentleman, his daughter and niece and their sweethearts, and of course are ignominiously bowled out. It is not a new theme for a war play, but its development was watched with all the intensity of interest that marked the public attitude towards earlier productions of the kind. National and patriotic sentiments were rapturously applauded and when the spies are exposed the pleasure of the houses found vent in applause so prolonged and hearty that the curtain was raised several times ... The play was well received, the audiences at times being roused to much enthusiasm. They were very responsive to the good acting, and no less to the many loyal and patriotic declarations which occur in the piece’ (Coventry Evening Telegraph, 27 February 1917).
30 Jul 1917 The Light that Leads Me Home Professional
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Performed for the week by Frank Bateman and company
27 Aug 1917 Honour the Man You Wed Professional
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Good houses last night witnessed Eva Elwes' play, "Honour the Man You Wed" and enjoyed it very much. ('Coventry Evening Telegraph', 28 August 1917, p. 2) It deals with modern life, and although some of the incidents appear somewhat sensational when focussed on the stage it does not require a very minute examination of the realities of existence to obtain proof of the legitimacy of the introduction of the majority of them. ('Coventry Standard', 31 August 1917, p. 6). Twice nightly, matinee on Saturday
3 Sep 1917 His Last Leave Professional
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‘“His Last Leave” is being presented at the Coventry Opera House this week, and no doubt will be well received by those who favour this class of production. To be seen twice nightly, it should, as on Monday evening, attract good attendances, for everything possible has been done to make it an up-to-date war play, even to the extent of including a dug-out, part of No-Man’s Land, and a dressing station behind the trenches among the scenes. Nine episodes are crowded into the limited time available, and plenty of strong situations, well-acted, are introduced. Intrigue leading to the parting of a young married couple in England is further developed, and then fortunately circumvented in the fighting zone in France. Private ‘Erb, the Bairnsfather character, has not been forgotten, and Mr. Charles Leverton fills the role to advantage. The play centres round the life of Richard Maxwell and his wife, two roles that are well sustained by Mr. James Hart and Miss Lilian Fenn. Mr. J. Mailey, Corporal Trimport [sic – Trimfoot], gains favour, while the villainous element is powerfully presented’ (Coventry Evening Telegraph, 4 September 1917).. An increasing number of plays find their theme in the war, or in some of its many appealing incidents, and “His Last Leave,” which is being presented at the Opera House this week, is one of the most interesting of them. The central action, the intrigue-created troubles of a young married couple, are blended with the situation in France in quite a natural and unstrained way, and the realism of the setting is just what the action demands' (Coventry Standard, 7 September 1917).
10 Dec 1917 John Raymond's Daughter or A Soldier's Love Child Professional
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Twice nightly, matinees on Thursday and Saturday.
17 Dec 1917 A Mother's Prayer Professional
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Performed as 'The Middy V.C. Comes Home'
22 Jul 1918 Called Up Professional
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Performed for the week. ''Called Up', [Vivan Edmonds'] new piece first appeared last Thursday at Barnsley, so that Coventry is the second town to be visited with it. It has many merits, and the pleasure of the good houses was very marked. A war story, it contains many applauded reflections on profiteers and profiteering, and appeals, perhaps particularly, to women with husbands, sons or sweethearts at the war, and who necessarily form the larger part of entertainment patrons.' (Coventry Evening Telegraph, 23 July 1918)
29 Jul 1918 Mother’s Sailor Boy Professional
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Performers: Dot Stephens Co
9 Sep 1918 Reported Missing Professional
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Reviews: "Comedy drama - laughter and thrills alternate and the whole piece should prove a tonic for jaded war nerves. 'Reported Missing' is played by a large company including Brennan Glee Singers", Coventry Standard
2 Dec 1918 Married on Leave Professional
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This performance (theatre and start date) is included in a list of forthcoming performances of “Married on Leave” in The Stage of Thursday 1 August 1918. The Coventry Herald of Saturday 30 November 1918 carried an advertisement for the Opera House, Coventry: ‘Lew Lake presents Dorothy Mullord and a powerful company, in a new play “Married on Leave”, by Dorothy Mullord’. Named cast members were Dorothy Mullord as Mary Graham, David J. Erlston as Capt. Philip Marlowe and Herbert Pearson as Raymond Vernon. Performances were from Monday 2 December, twice nightly for six nights with matinées on Thursday and Saturday. The advertisement appeared also in the Coventry Evening Telegraph of Saturday 30 November and Monday 2 to Friday 6 December 1918. The Coventry Herald of Saturday 30 November 1918 also reported, ‘Next week’s attraction at the Opera House will be Miss Dorothy Mullord’s new play, entitled “Married on Leave”. It is a story of to-day, showing many thrilling sensations, including a fight in the air and the fall of a German Gotha. It is played by an excellent all-round cast, including the authoress, and is given in its entirety twice nightly, with matinees on Thursday and Saturday’.
16 Dec 1918 When Our Lads Come Marching Home Professional
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Performers: Harry Foxwell (Company), Lilian Maitland (actress), Roy Selfridge (actor) Reviews: "story of strong emotional interest, which holds the attention from beginning to end", Coventry Standard. Review - "All the players take their parts excellently" Coventry Daily Telegraph.
13 Jan 1919 Peace Time Prophecies or Stories Gone Wrong Professional
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Previewed in the Coventry Evening Telegraph, 11 January 1919. Reviewed in the Coventry Evening Telegraph, 14 January 1919: ‘… “The Worst ‘Ole of All,” in which Mr. Russell was Old Bill, was very good, and so was “The Comforts of Home,” in which Major Blount, represented by the same actor, brought into civilian life the habits contracted during four years at the front. He simply convulsed the audience’.
21 Apr 1919 The Luck Of The Navy Professional
12 May 1919 Tails Up Professional
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Previewed in the . Coventry Standard, Friday 9 May 1919. ‘The musical extravaganza “Tails Up,” which has passed its 400th performances at the Comedy Theatre, Landon, drew a large audience last night [at the Opera House, Coventry]. It is in two acts of 13 scenes, all of which are good, some very good. Particularly amusing was “The Curious Tale of the Intellectual Sergeant-Major” who ambitiously presents “Macbeth,” for which he coaches soldiers under his command. Mr. Edwin Adeler most cleverly takes the sergeant-major. “The Special Cop” is played by Miss Hilda Simpson and Mr. Jack Leopold, who are encored for their song and dance. Encores were numerous during the evening. “The Will of the Wisp” is another attractive turn in which Mr. W. Nixon, Miss Essie Brett, and Miss Clairette Ruane most effectively impersonate the characters. Very funny was “The Strange Tale of the Historical Lecture,” Mr. Adeler delivering the lecture. In “The Continued Tale of the Deserted Park” Miss Simpson, Mr. Leopold, and Miss Yvonne Dulac, and Mr. Leslie Ward won much applause. Mr. Leopold’s extra verse on Lady Godiva, his song being entitled “1999,” was greeted with roars of laughter. “The Strange Tale of the Butler who had seen Better Days” was well performed, and “Tails Up,” sung by Miss Ruane and Mr. Ward was loudly applauded. Mr. Phil Golding and Miss Simpson, and Mr. Leopold scored successes in “The Tuneful Tale in the Blue and Gold Room.” “The Strange Tale of the Brigadier-General who was never seen’ was very comic, being a skit on the difficult of obtaining official attention. Mr. Bert Monks was the plain man who grew old in his quest. Miss Dulac, Miss Simpson, Mr. Monks and Mr Leopold in “The Tuneful Tale Continued” in various ways make excellent contributions to the house’s pleasure. “The Strange Tale of the Charm that worked” has four scenes of its own, most of the company taking part in it. It was exceptionally well done, being a fitting conclusion to a very pleasant evening of many entertaining things - good music, songs, dances, acting, and all else. The chorus was exceptionally capable' (Coventry Evening Telegraph, 13 May 1919).
28 Jul 1919 For Sweethearts and Wives Professional
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‘A naval play, “For Sweethearts and Wives,” is produced at the Opera House. It is presented twice nightly by the original London company, including Hetty Gale. The drama’s plot is founded on German intrigue and spy work. The stealing of the submarine plans of the hero of the story and the thwarting of the German plot to put the invention to use against England lead to the principal dramatic situations of the play. Khaki and blue predominate throughout the drama, and there is consequently plenty of love interest and humour running through the production. There are four acts and thirteen scenes calling for a considerable variety of stage effects, several of which are quite good’. Coventry Evening Telegraph, 29 July 1919.
17 May 1920 The Luck Of The Navy Professional
9 Aug 1920 Seven Days Leave Professional
25 Aug 1923 The Man Who Stayed At Home Professional
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Performed Monday, Tuesday and Saturday evenings.
25 Aug 1924 The Man Who Stayed At Home Professional
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‘“The Man. who Stayed at Home,” the three act spy play, shows no sign of declining popularity. Presented by the Raynor Repertoire Company at the Opera House last night it certainly had lost none of its old power to thrill and to amuse. The sinister atmosphere of the little hotel on the East Coast was recaptured and there were numerous tense moments of gripping interest. For the first few minutes after the curtain rose the action of the play seemed to hang fire a bit, but there was no more “standing still” after the discovery of the wireless installation in the fire place’. Coventry Evening Telegraph, 26 August 1924.
28 Sep 1925 The Man Who Stayed At Home Professional
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Performed by the Raynor Repertory Company for one night only.
2 Aug 1926 Seven Days Leave Professional
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performed on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday matinee.