Great War Theatre

A number of scripts are available, either as transcripts or digitised copies, on the website. If a copy of the play is already available digitally online we have linked to this. Under advanced search you can choose only to see results for plays with scripts available.

We are constantly working to increase the number of digitised or transcribed scripts available for the plays in the database. This is made possible by the hard work of a core group of volunteers who are typing out copies of scripts from manuscripts in the British Library. It is also made possible by the kind permission of the British Library to reproduce digitised copies of scripts on the website.

Why aren’t scripts available for all plays?

The majority of plays produced during the First World War were never published. This means that we have to digitise or transcribe the script to make it available. In deciding which plays to transcribe a number of factors come into play. This includes length of play, likely academic and public interest in the play, and whether we have permission to reproduce it.

Where a script is not available in the database this may be because:

  • The play is still in copyright and we do not have permission to copy it,
  • We are in the process of identifying the rights status of the play to find out if we can copy it, or
  • We have not yet been able to transcribe or digitise the play because of time and/or cost.

Where else can I read the scripts?

If a copy of the script is not available in the database, you can still read the original script, for free, at the British Library, London.  To do this you will need to follow the steps below:

  1. Register as a Reader and get your reader’s card.
  2. Register for your online account at the British Library.
  3. Order the play to be delivered on a date of your choice. Please note that the plays are not available for ordering via the integrated catalogue. Instead you have to order via the Western Manuscripts Collection. To do this, click here and then log in with your online account.  You should then see the page shown in the image opposite:
  4. At the bottom of this page, insert the relevant Reference for your play into the box. In the database you will find the reference a play on the page for that play. It will be in the format: LCP1914/28. To find out more about what the reference means read Understanding the Database.
  5. You can now select the date you want to read the manuscript.
  6. If you have any queries about ordering or reading the plays you can contact us for advice or support.