Setting the Scene

Ninety years on from the Armistice, Oh What a Lovely War remains a classic of modern theatre and a powerful reminder of the atrocities of war.

It is a theatrical chronicle of the First World War, told through the songs and documents of the period. It is a satirical attack on the military incompetence and the inconceivable disregard for human life. At times funny and deeply moving, Oh What a Lovely War! combines live music, dance, songs and sketches creating a picture of life for those on, and behind, the front line.

First performed at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London in 1963, it received the acclaim of London audiences and critics. It won the Grand Prix of the Théâtre des Nations festival in Paris that year and has gone on to become a classic of the modern theatre.

In 1969 a film version was made which extended the play’s popular success. The play is now on the standard reading list of schools and universities around the UK and was revived by the Royal National Theatre in 1998.

Scenes

Act 1

Summer 1914

A scorching Bank Holiday

The Circus Begins

The rumblings of war as various countries dictate their interests and wish for power. The Kaiser wished Germany to be all powerful so planned to conquer France and Russia.

Sarajevo

Archduke Fernand’s assassination resulted in Austria and Hungry declaring war on Serbia. Due to various alliances and treaties the result was that Russia, France, Serbia, Belgium and Great Britain were at war with Germany (US entered in1917).

Germany

Countries begin to mobilize and prepare for war.

London

Ladies encourage their men folk to join up.

French Calvary

Belgium’s input puts the kibosh on the Kaiser.

The Battlefield

A French and German Officer write letters home.

English Recruits

We are not downhearted and men are encouraged to join up by fair means foul.

Allies Confer

Battle plans and insights into ill formed decision making.

England

The first wounded arrive back home and life goes on in theatres around the country.

Trench Warfare begins

The first winter.

Act 2

1915

Conscription act was passed but many men vanished from home. The white feather became the symbol of cowardice.

Grouse Shooting

Business men from warring countries plan on how to get rich.

Trench

Officers visit the men

1916 – A Ballroom

High ranking officers such as Haig and French are more concerned with their status than loss of life on the battlefield.

Battle Plans

Haig and a British General discuss plans and a shortage of men.

A Battle Field

The Irish arrive.

The Battle At Home

The Suffragettes are making a stand and Miss Pankhurst is firm against war.

Battle on the Somme

Men prepare for battle

Church Service

Men and Nurses together in worship

Burial Duty

Men had to dig the graves of their comrades.

Back Home

Women took over the men’s jobs at home, working in factories and keeping the home fires burning.

English Soldiers pay homage

Finale

The Production team

  • Director – Rachael Parry-Taylor
  • Musical Director – Marcus Davidson
  • Choreography – Rachael Parry-Taylor
  • Sound Recording / Slide Operator – Neil Carmichael
  • Costumes & Props – Pauline Seagroatt, Richard Seagroatt & Debbie Featherstone
  • Stage Manager – Richard Seagroatt
  • Front Of House – Edith Adejobe / Justine Knight / Barry Pavey / Nicki Parry / Elayne Carby
  • With Special Thanks to – The Edward Alleyn Theatre, Carshalton Pantomime & Sheila Seagroatt

The Cast

Ladies

  • MC / Photographer & Chaplain – Fidelma O’Neill
  • France / Lanzerac / Doctor & English Woman – Marina Gask
  • Austria / French Aide & English Woman – Susan Mills
  • Ireland / British Soldier & English Woman – Debbie Featherstone
  • Lanzerac Aide / Solo ‘Hold Your Hand’ / Ghillie & English Woman – Carol Deburca
  • News Girl / British Soldier & Emily Pankhurst – Charlotte Knell
  • Solo ‘Man Out Of You’ & Nurse – Pauline Seagroatt
  • German Dancer / German Woman / German Soldier & English Soldier – Dunja Kuhn

Gentlemen

  • Britain / France / British Officer & Haig – David Croft
  • Kaiser / Serbian Secret Police / German Officer / German Soldier & Irish Sergeant – Seán O’Farrell
  • Moltke / Austrian Secret Police & British Sergeant – Stephen Norton
  • Moranville / French Officer & British Corporal – Kevin Ferny
  • Russia & Stall Holder – Jude Figueira
  • Wilson / Rawlinson & British General – Sam Leach
  • British Soldier / Corporal & Switzerland – Roy Parris
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