Great War Theatre

Address: Burnley, UK

Performances at this Theatre

Date Script Type
21 Feb 1916 One O' Kitcheners Professional
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Performed from 21 to 26 February 1916 by Shirley and Ransome: ‘A most touching little sketch, which is a powerful recruiting appeal, is presented by Harry Shirley and May Ransome. Shirley has himself been rejected, and had a son serving in a Lancashire Regiment. The playlet must be typical of hundreds of thousands of homes, and the sadness of the husband who feels he must go and fears to break the news that he has enlisted to his wife is one of the most natural as well as the most human little scenes seen on the stage. It was most effectively given, and the audience were deeply impressed by the homeliness of it all’ (Burnley Express, 23 February 1916)
17 Apr 1916 The Frenchwoman Professional
17 Jun 1916 The Mystery Gun Professional
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Twice nightly 7pm & 9pm. The programme at the Palace and Hippodrome this week is comprised of well-balanced and pleasing variety turns which constitute a high-class vaudeville entertainment calculate to please all tastes. The presentation of Fred. Clayden's naval comedy illusion "The Mystery Gun" creates plenty of mirth and amusement. The comedy is enacted on the gun deck of a modern battleship and the story leading up to the test of this mystery gun is typically nautical and brimful of humour. The inventor of the mystery gun, Lieut. Jack Armstrong (Ray MacMarn) is in love with the Captain's daughter (Miss Erica O'Foyle) and the consent of the father to the match is dependent on the successful trial of the gun, which it is claimed will fire a human projectile through a solid target without injury to the former or damage to the latter. herein of course lies the illusion, and the mystery is certainly one which completely baffles the audience. Simultaneously with the discharge of the gun pretty Miss O'Foyle appears on the other side of the solid target and how she gets there is a point on which there will be many opinions, probably no two alike, and equally probable none of them accurate. At any rate there is a 500 pound challenge to anyone who can prove that two ladies are employed in the illusion. The Dolly Victoria Troupe of lady cyclists have an altogether new and novel act, far removed from the ordinary stage cycling exhibitions. They are remarkably clever combination and after a series of wonderfully skilful individual and combined tricks in which the youngest member of the troupe displays extraordinary ability, they conclude a delightful turn with a patriotic tableau which merits the rapturous applause accorded from all parts of the house. Rich Hayes described as the elongated personification of humorous skill and audacity is not unknown in Burnley, but there could be no more welcome turn, for Hayes is one of the funniest men on the stage as well as one of the most adept in the art of juggling. His very appearance creates much laughter, and his eccentricities coupled with his exceptional skill make him one of the most entertaining artistes touring the halls. Eleanor and Bertie appear in a comedy gymnastic melange in which the lady gives a wonderfully clever exhibition on the tight wire, her companion meanwhile applying the humorous element. The Four Renees come in for much admiration in a comedy vocal and dancing speciality, while Tom Charles a member of the quartette, gives the best impersonation of Charlie Chaplin that we have seen. Bessie Slaughter has a contralto voice of remarkable tone and regular charm and her rendition of "Killarney" especially wins for her hearty and spontaneous applause. George Edwards is a Lancashire comedian whose patter and songs instil him a popular favourite. The pictures this week are of exceptional interest. (Burnley News - Wednesday 21 June 1916)
17 Sep 1917 Flying Colours Professional
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‘The humour of Bairnsfather has been one of the happiest revelations of the war. The work of the great artist officer has enjoyed no keener appreciation and popularity than is evidenced among all classes of the public in Lancashire. The workers are always keen on receiving something good, and perhaps they least expected’ that coming out of the war.. But thanks to Capt. Bruce Bairnsfather, the life of the British Tommy on active service has been shown to have its lighter side, and it very brilliantly portrayed in the satirical and humourous sketches from’ the pencil of this wonderful artist, many examples of which will ever live in the mind of the British public. Burnley is keenly anticipating next week’s leading attraction the Palace and Hippodrome, the enterprising management having been successful in arranging for the presentation by Capt. Bairnsfather, of the London Hippodrome comedian, Harry Thurston in “The Johnson ‘ole,” an episode of real trench humour, written by Capt. Bairnsfather and B. Macdonald Hastings. The sketch created a furore on its presentation in London and in the large provincial centres it was similarly successful. Next week Burnley is sure to endorse the popular verdict. The management of the Palace and Hippodrome are be heartily complimented on bringing such an attraction here. The programme also comprises the following excellent turns in vaudeville …’. Burnley News, 15 September 1917. ‘A full “house” [at the Palace, Burnley] on Monday night endorsed the good opinion of London audiences of “The Johnson ‘Ole,” an episode of trench humour, written by Captain Bairnsfather and B. Macdonald Hastings. Harry Thurston takes the part of “Old Bill the Walrus.”’ Burnley Express, 19 September 1917. ‘Capt. Bruce Bairnsfather is welcomed by the English speaking world over as one of the cheeriest products of the war, and it is not to be wondered at that in the […] which his forbears have sprung he should be appreciated to the full. We have laughed at the comical drawings that have set the world laughing, little anticipating that we should see a reproduction of some of the […] on the stage. And the reproduction […] funnier. Perhaps to the sensitive […] too lurid as regards the language, for […] suggestive dashes indicative of the […] in adjectival expression, are all filled in [..] what a wealth of humour there is [..] sketch, “The Johnson ‘ole,” which is appearing at the Palace this week, may be best described as a continuous presentation of the artist’s drawings, for one can recall similar incidents as already depicted [….] Press, with an addition too numerous to mention. Suffice it say that the humour […] the house in a rollicking mood, the best situations which arise all being of the robustly quaint type which are associated with the British Tommy in the trenches. […] litter of the trenches, with a Bairnsfather landscape in the background, greet the […] and it is in these surroundings that Old Bill Walrus, as interpreted by Mr. Harry Thurston, launches forth those shafts of [wit?] with which we would willingly keep acquainted. The bemoaning of Bill at the […] of a pal to whom had lent a couple […] the day before, his consternation at the [...] that the war was to be over in […] weeks, when he has just got […] he was to go on leave in three weeks, and […] exciting attitude of the dummy sniper, are a few of the incidents which send the house [into?] screams of laughter. The sketch is as well worth seeing as are the best of Capt. Bairnsfather’s drawings, and is full of fun throughout’. Burnley News, 19 September 1917.
19 Nov 1917 The Frenchwoman Professional
15 Sep 1918 The Lads of the Village Professional
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Performed until 20 September 1918 with Bob Stevens as Erb.