Great War Theatre

Also known as: Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

Address: Cheltenham, UK

Performances at this Theatre

2 Nov 1914 To Arms!Professional
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Performed alongside Shakespearean plays by Mr F. R. Benson and company. Performed on Monday, Wednesday, Friday evenings and Saturday.
1 Feb 1915 Ring OffUnknown
24 May 1915 SearchlightsProfessional
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‘“Searchlights,” by H. A. Vachell, which is being presented by Messrs. Alick Chumley and A. Russell Davis and their company, has been one of the marked successes of the London season, and is still playing to crowded houses at the Savoy Theatre [sic!] ... The plot of “Searchlights” grips, and its dialogue has considerable fascination, both elements contributing largely to the success of a very piquant and clever work. But it is the atmosphere of great modern events, and the lights and shadows thrown over the picture by this that accounts for the unique place amongst recent productions' (Gloucestershire Echo, 25 May 1915).
4 Sep 1916 When Love Creeps In Your HeartProfessional
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Performed by Leonard Mortimer's Company.
16 Oct 1916 Kultur At HomeProfessional
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'It is not a melodrama with cheap attempts at sensationalism, realism, and “local colour,” but an intensely interesting study of life in a German garrison town, just before the outbreak of the war, by two gifted dramatists who have had actual experience of the environment which they have so successfully pourtrayed [sic], and who have handled their subject with humour, discretion, and restraint … Readers should on no account miss this brilliant play, with its topical interest, satirical humour, strong emotional scenes, and delightful comedy passages. The company … has been personally rehearsed by Mr. Otho Stuart, the celebrated producer, and the entire production, furniture, and accessories from Court and Strand Theatres, London, are carried’. Cheltenham Chronicle, 14 October 1916. ‘One left the Theatre on Monday with of the greatness of the power of the stage when it is not frittering itself away upon things unworthy. [In] “Kultur at Home” … Rudolf Besier and Sybil Spottiswoode have dealt with a problem of the utmost importance to the British race - the psychology of its great enemy Most the [German] people in the play are quite excellent folk from their national point view, and the motif of the play is the clash of these ideals with the wife’s English notions. This clash leads to situations that the audience follow with an interest tense that for the most part it seems to forget those manifestations of approval or dislike which are ordinarily the outcome of plays which merely interest in an objective way, and to feel themselves a part of the material of the play. We, who have somewhat outgrown the concepts which not so long ago made the Britisher a very ridiculous fool, have not sufficiently realised what this play teaches us: that the Germans, once a quiet homely folk, have become a race of which every member has been taught, by ages of skilful drilling in the lesson, to thank God (“who is a German, too”) that he (the German) is a German. This national trait has found its highest manifestation in the Army, for which apparently the state exists, rather than the army for the state, just as from the German point of view the woman merely exists for the benefit of the man - always, of course, that Germany, that is the Army, may be great and glorious and tread under its rough-shod heels its enemies, who are everybody who does not appreciate its God-given mission of glorifying the German Army … The dominance of the military caste and the blind acquiescence of the German woman in the god-like superiority of her male folk, because they represent the army - that is Germany, and German ideals triumphant in the world – whereas they are in our eyes behaving like coarse, low cads gratifying their own vulgar selfishness, is a pathetic feature'. Gloucestershire Echo, 17 October 1916. '“Kultur at Home” is a decidedly successful attempt to enlighten the Briton on the outlook of the Teuton at home - and nations as well as individuals must be seen at home to be known … The piece is the more educational in that although the characters are strongly drawn and the bias of the authors is not hidden, yet in the main the balance is not very unfairly weighed against the Teuton. Our own feelings may cause us to sympathise wholeheartedly with the heroine, but if we saw the work from the German point of view we should probably sympathise with the hero, whom the authors have not selected from the worst of his class or from the comic-paper sausage-sauerkraut spectacles and swipes type. On the contrary, he is drawn as an excellent young fellow, who stands for his Teutonic ideals in a way that makes us sorry rather than angry with him, for some of us know how the swollen-headed of our own race are … by the time the curtain goes down the final scene - a truly magnificent thrill in which the audience are no longer spectators, but by virtue of nationality seem to be taking part in the acting - there must be very few who have not learnt something more for what Britain and her Colonies and her Allies are standing than ever they knew before … The difficulty is that until the Teuton has learnt his lesson he, like the rest of us, will continue to regard [his] ugly ideals as his real god. Our Tommies are probably proving the best possible missionaries to him!’. Cheltenham Chronicle, 21 October 1916.
23 Oct 1916 The Man Who Stayed At HomeProfessional
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The Era, 18 and 25 October 1916, listed The Man Who Stayed at Home (Blue) as On The Road from 23 October at the O.H., Cheltenham. ‘“The Man Who Stayed at Home,” the very attractive German spy play being performed by E. Taylor Platt’s Company at the Cheltenham Theatre and Opera House this week, was written at the time when everybody was wondering why everybody else did not “join up,” and impertinent flappers were presenting young fellows with white feathers in the superb conviction the flapper has of her own importance and the omniscient wisdom of her silliness. The man who stayed home in this case was one who had business for the Empire which made his presence much more important at home than anywhere else and the work he was doing is the subject matter of as gripping a play as need be seen. For who does not love a spy or a detective story? – and this is both the one and the other, with elements of thrilling drama, pleasant humour, and much good national character study thrown in' (Cheltenham Chronicle, 28 October 1916).
20 Apr 1917 The Sleeping BeautyUnknown
25 Jun 1917 The Amazing MarriageProfessional
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Carlton Wallace's company was engaged for a month at the theatre, and this was extended a further two weeks in which they would perform 'East Lynne' as well as 'The Amazing Marriage'. (Gloucestershire Echo, 23 June 1917)
3 Sep 1917 The Man Who Stayed At HomeProfessional
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The Stage, 30 August and 6 September 1917, listed The Man Who Stayed at Home (Red Co.) as On Tour from 3 September at the O.H., Cheltenham. Also The Era, 29 August 1917. Previewed in the Gloucestershire Echo and the Cheltenham Chronicle, 1 September 1917, which listed the actors: Clifford Marle, T. Arthur Ellis, J. Edward Pearce, E King, Hilda Francks, Christine Cooper, Frances Waring, Ethel Coleridge, Edith Cuthbert, Jean Stanley, and Malcolm Cumming, a Cheltonian, who will be remembered as chief assistant librarian’. ‘“The Man Who Stayed at Home” commenced on Monday evening a week’s run at the Cheltenham Theatre … The play named above was as good a choice as could have been made for the starting of what we suppose must be termed the autumn season, for it made a great impression when here in October last year, and the subject with which it deals will not be stale for many a day to come' (Gloucestershire Echo, 4 September 1917). 'The play which has been presented [at the Theatre] since Monday last is The Man Who Stayed at Home ... It is one those plays which, written to meet a popular topical demand - the German spy question in this case - has turned out to be so full of good stuff that they continue to please after the demand has died down. The Man Who Stayed at Home is a capital combination of comedy, drama, character-drawing and general observation and is strongly acted' (Cheltenham Looker-On, 8 September 1917.
3 Dec 1917 SearchlightsProfessional
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‘At the Theatre [and Opera House] next week Mr Robert Brasher presents Mr. H- B. Irving’s great London success Searchlights, by Horace Annesley Vachell, the popular author of Quinneys. Searchlights is described as a delightful Comedy Domestic Drama of human interest. It is a war play, but not one of the kind which make people cringe and wish they had not come to the Theatre. It gives an insight into the lives of two households, one of a keen business man who has foreseen the war and been prepared, and the other of a sweet-natured naturalized German whose country is Scotland, the land of his ancestors, though as he says himself he had the misfortune to be born in Bavaria, who has foreseen nothing' (Cheltenham Looker-On, 1 December 1917). ‘At the Cheltenham Theatre this week “Searchlights,” by Horace Annesley Vachell, is being produced by a strong company. Like the same composer’s delightful “Quinney’s” it is a very human play, but the comedy element is not quite so much to the forefront and there is a very strong human interest, the plot being based on circumstances connected with the war’ (Gloucestershire Echo, 3 December 1917). ‘“Searchlights,” by Horace Annesley Vachell, is being presented at the Cheltenham Theatre this week by a company, toured by Mr. Robert Brasher, who will not lessen the good impression the piece left when played there in May, 1915, by another company' (Gloucestershire Echo, 4 December 1917). ‘Though the action of the play covers the period immediately preceding the war and also the early days of the German invasion of Belgium and France, Searchlights (by Horace Annesley Vachell) is not primarily a war play but a domestic comedy drama. It concerns the fate of two lovers, Harry Blain and Phoebe Schmaltz, the first the reputed son of a hard-fisted commercial Englishman who had the prescience to anticipate the war and to make his preparations accordingly, the second the daughter of a naturalised German who disregarded all Blain’s warnings and put every halfpenny of his capital into Teuton undertakings, with the result that he lost all when the crash came ... A strong play powerfully acted by Mr. Robert Brasher’s Company ... The front play is by Geoffrey Wilkinson, and in it a German spy gets his deserts’ (Cheltenham Looker-On, 8 December 1917).
14 Jan 1918 Peace Time Prophecies or Stories Gone WrongProfessional
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'For the most part the so-called “revues” doing the provinces from time to time have no more relationship to the real thing which the which the French gave its name than they have to grand opera. “Bubbly” presented by the Ralph Haslam company this week at Cheltenham Theatre, by arrangement with André Charlot, is a complete exception. Not only in type is it the real thing, but in personnel and mounting gives an idea of the type at its best ... the third “bubble” [is] entitled “The Eternal Triangle, 5000 B.C.,” played by Cedric Percival, Doris Barrington, and Edmund Russell. In spite of the title it is a future time, when “Gothas” have driven us back to an underground or troglodyte life, that is imagined ... “Bubble V.” is delicious comedy based on the idea of the return to civilian life of “Old Bill,” of Bairnsfather picture fame, and a lively old major, who both got lifelike personation by Edmund Russell. The various other characters are touched off with real humour ... Another reflection in the first “bubble” of part II. is “The end of a perfect day,’ as seen by the lady flag seller, war allotment holder, extravagant munition worker, and the private soldier ' (Gloucestershire Echo, 15 January 1918). Also reviewed in the Cheltenham Chronicle, 19 January 1918.
4 Mar 1918 When Our Lads Come Marching HomeProfessional
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Performers: Sheila Walsh (writer), Courtney Robinson (actor) Review: "The piece has very popular elements, and the many good fellows in khaki in the audience rocked with laughter" The Gloucestershire Echo
9 Mar 1918 When Our Lads Come Marching HomeProfessional
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Performers: Sheila Walsh (writer), Roy Selfridge (actor), Lilian Maitland (actress), Ernest Leslie (actor), Courtney Robinson (actor), Edgar C. Milton (actor), Arthur Edwards (actor), Frank Irish (actor)
19 Aug 1918 The Man Who Stayed At HomeProfessional
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‘The Taylor Platt company … in The Man Who Stayed at Home’ was advertised for the following week at the Theatre and Opera House in the Cheltenham Looker-On, 17 August 1918 which also previewed the production. ‘When a play upon a third visit attracts and thoroughly grips so large a house as that which welcomed back the Taylor Platt company in “The Man Who Stayed at Home,” on Monday evening, it may be taken to be a thing of some qualities above the average … of all the many war plays that have yet been “presented” this, we think, is decidedly the best, combining as it does most piquant dramatic elements that are free from the “bluggy” melodramatic type of sensation, a clever spy story, and a genial strain of humour that is not dragged in as “relief,” but is part of the plot itself. The present cast, although several new names appear, show no falling off from the high quality of the play of the two prior visits. As it is a play in which the characters are mostly people of good society, “tone” is a quality that counts much, and in this respect there is not a jarring note' (Gloucestershire Echo, 20 August 1918). ‘There is a certain section of the playgoing public which steadfastly and consistently adopts the axiom that the alpha and omega of stage-plays is to amuse. The more conscientious theatre patron, however, has catholic tastes and recognises that the drama need not be confined to spasmodic revues and sprightly musical comedies, tickling as they are to the ear, and pleasant to the eye, but can also in due measure elevate and educate, without possessing any quality of dullness. The play of the week at the Theatre, The Man who Stayed at Home, is of the last-named description, for it is of a kind to open the eyes and intelligences of the general public, in a direct way that newspaper reading can never achieve, to what are some of the most dangerous features of the “alien peril” in our midst; and what is perhaps of even more enlightening account, gives a suggestive insight into the dangerous duties that fall to the lot of the consummately clever, but professionally obscure, members of the British Secret Service (Cheltenham Looker-On, 24 August 1918). ‘There are things one thanks providence he has not the chance of judging how they bear a second seeing. Not so “The Man Who Stayed at Home,” for one can confess to having sat it out a third time with as much pleasure as the first, for if the element of dramatic surprise was gone, one was under the circumstances more inclined to give attention to the quality of the characterisations and to the humour. The authors of the book (Lechmere Worrall and J. E. Harry Turner (sic – Terry)) make us realise what dramatic possibilities may be hidden in a company of seemingly commonplace people at a boarding-house in times that are spacious enough to give scope to their latent potentialities; and they have done so in a manner so far removed from the coarsely melodramatic; in fact, with such pretty and refined humour as well as dramatic power that on the whole “The Man Who Stayed at Home” can be ranked as the best war play we have had at the local Opera House' (Cheltenham Chronicle, 24 August 1918).
13 Jan 1919 Seven Days LeaveProfessional
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Presented by Walter Howard.
17 Feb 1919 By Pigeon PostProfessional
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Herbert Greville (director), Aubrey Mallalieu (actor), Reginald Turner (actor), Herbert Vyvyan (actor), Dorothy Edwards (actress)
17 Mar 1919 The TitleProfessional
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‘Satire when staged needs to be in capable and practised hands, these conditions being fulfilled in Messrs. Vedrenne and Eadie’s Company, a delightful representation is given at the Theatre this week of Arnold Bennett’s three act domestic comedy, The Title. The play is a long-drawn-out protest against the traffic or supposed traffic in “honours .” It must be confessed, however, that the parties who make the protest have not only chosen the wrong occasion - for if anyone deserves recognition for his services to the nation it surely is the Mr. Culver of the play - but they are also somewhat eccentric in the lengths to which they are prepared to go to show not merely their contempt but their abomination of all such trifles. In fact, the only really sensible member of this curious family is Mrs. Culver, who, her vanity notwithstanding, we are all pleased to find gains her end at last, and with it the coveted title to be called “My Lady.” The author has put a lot of smart things in the mouths of the people whom Mrs. Culver has to fight, and doubtless they are all true. But our sympathy is with the little woman, who comes up smiling after every knockdown (metaphoric) blow administered by her matter of fact spouse, her intellectual daughter, and her democratic son ... The Title is preceded by a one-act comedy by Roland Pertwee, entitled Postal Orders, which is a skit on the manner in which impatient customers are supposed to be served at the Post Office counter by the lady members of the staff' ( Cheltenham Looker-On, 22 March 1919). An article on the Cheltenham Opera House remarked, ‘there is a distinct charm in a small and snug Theatre [such as the Opera House], particularly for the performance of such plays as Arnold Bennett’s The Title, when every gesture and inflection of voice and tiny mannerism must be observed in detail to get the full flavour of the wit and satire with which such a play abounds’ (Cheltenham Looker-On, 30 August 1919).
28 Apr 1919 Nurse BensonProfessional
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‘Presented at the Cheltenham Theatre this week, “Nurse Benson,” by R. C. Carton and Justin Huntly McCarthy, is a four-act comedy, wittily conceived, skilfully constructed, and admirably acted by the Taylor Platt company. The play simply ripples with fun. The authors have given us a remarkable piece of work in the sense that it thoroughly reflects the moment. It has the war as background, and during the war even so genial a satire as Lord Messiger, the testy nobleman who devotes himself to the propaganda for Food Economy, would have been out of taste. But the agony is over, and we can afford to look back on these types of war enthusiast and smile ... In parts the action has a touch of the farcical, but the atmosphere of the play is pure comedy, and the dialogue has the true comedy quality. We can hardly speak too highly of the cast' (Gloucestershire Echo, 29 April 1919). 'Nurse Benson is charming - that is to say the lady who masquerades as the real Nurse Benson. The story which R. C. Carton and Justin Huntly McCarthy have so cleverly woven round a name is one of sweet feminine duplicity. The situations which result are extremely funny, the dialogue is smart and witty, and the Taylor Platt Company who present the piece at the Opera House this week, is first-class in every respect. The comedy has a war atmosphere; it must surely have been written to cheer one in the dark days. And it does that still, for the whole play means a continued laugh from start to finish' (Cheltenham Looker-On, 3 May 1919).
2 Jun 1919 Peace Time Prophecies or Stories Gone WrongProfessional
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‘… the entertainment has not changed in any material point whatever since it went on tour. Times may have changed, and the light falls from a fresh angle upon such very glistening bubbles as those of the “Peace time prophecies, or stories going wrong.” We were looking forward when “Bubbly” was here last [14-19 January 1918], whereas we are now looking forward. But whichever way we may be looking, old Major Blount, who introduces trench life, “flea-bag” and all, into his drawing room to make the place endurable, and “Old Bill,” who has to hide from fame and failing to find rest is left wreaking his vengeance upon his maker, the famous Bairnsfather, are figures that strike the imagination and stir the risible faculties to tonic laughter. On is surprised in looking at the programme to find that Mr. Edmund Russell is responsible for both these enjoyable personalities, so individual and distinct are they’ (Gloucestershire Echo, 3 June 1919). ‘“Bubbly” is presented [at the Theatre, Cheltenham] here by Ralph Haslam and company. The principals include Ernest Seebold, Edmund Russell, R. Barrett-Lennard, W. Ashley Sinclair, Florence Mayfield [sic – Bayfield], Edith Payne, Kathleen Martyn, and Doris Devigne’ (The Stage, 5 June 1919). ‘A delightful medley, Bubbly, the return visit of which was enthusiastically welcomed to Cheltenham on Monday is as bright and entertaining as ever, and Mr. Ralph Haslam’s original company improves on further acquaintance. In fact the pleasure they give in the bewildering and fascinating variety of scenes, dances and costumes in which they appear to such picturesque effect easily accounts for the success of Bubbly. The different skits are all admirably presented. Nothing could be better for instance than the “Old Bill” of Mr. Edmund Russell, or his Major Blount in the “Comforts of Home” ...’ (Cheltenham Looker-On, 7 June 1919). ‘“Bubbly,” by far the cleverest and best revue that, we have seen in Cheltenham, is paying a second visit the local theatre this week. It comes practically unchanged, and has captivated the house each night just as completely as upon the previous visit’ (Cheltenham Chronicle, 7 June 1919).
18 Aug 1919 The Luck Of The NavyProfessional
6 Oct 1919 The Freedom of the SeasProfessional
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Organised by Thos. C. Dagnall and presented by Robert Brasher. Performed for the week by Robert Brasher (actor), C.B. Keston (actor), Charlton Hutchinson (actor), T. Arthur Ellis (actor), Olivia Glynn (actress)
3 Nov 1919 The AmoristProfessional
22 Jan 1920 By Pigeon PostProfessional
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Performed by the Arthur Hardy company with Alfred Gray, Charles Poulton, Helen Green, Goodie Willis, and Haviland Burke.
26 Jan 1920 Seven Days LeaveProfessional
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Performed for the week with matinee Saturday at 2.30.
26 Jan 1920 By Pigeon PostProfessional
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Performed on 22, 23 and 24 January 1920 by Arthur Hardy (producer), Alfred Gray (actor), Charles Poulton (actor), Helen Green (actress), Goodie Willis (actress), C. Haviland Burke (actor). 'Exploiting ground not so much over-cropped as some of that out of which so many of our spy stories have grown, the play is a good one of its kind and the acting is competent.' (Gloucestershire Echo, 23 January 1920)
19 Apr 1920 General PostProfessional
3 May 1920 The Luck Of The NavyProfessional