On Stage: Theatre to Commemorate WWI

This Sunday, 11th November marks a century since the end of the First World War. To mark this occasion, theatres around the country have programmed productions commemorating the event and its lasting impact across the world. In On Stage, a new feature from TheatreGB, we take a look at some of the shows you may want to visit, coinciding with the Armistice.

THE TRENCH – Southwark Playhouse

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Theatre company Les Enfants Terribles revive their acclaimed production of THE TRENCH at Southwark Playhouse. The company, known for their signature visual style, incorporate music, puppetry and physical performance to this play. THE TRENCH is inspired by the true story of a miner who becomes trapped underground in a collapsed tunnel during World War One. The pure theatricality accompanied with the quirky story provides an unconventional reflection of WW1.

PRIVATE PEACEFUL – UK Tour

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Michael Morpurgo’s PRIVATE PEACEFUL is given extra pertinence as it tours the UK at this time. The show follows young Tommo Peaceful, whose best friend is wrongly charged for cowardice and awaits his impending death. Simon Reade’s one-man adaptation, presented by Scamp Theatre, will play Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre before playing Reading’s Hexagon Theatre on Armistice day itself.

FORGOTTEN 遗忘 – Arcola Theatre

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Dalston’s Arcola Theatre presents a play about an almost unheard story from the First World War. Daniel York Loh’s FORGOTTEN 遗忘 follows the 140,000 Chinese Labour Corps who left everything and travelled across the Western Front during WW1. Moongate and Yellow Earth’s co-production about a story we don’t know, seems very appropriate to stage on Remembrance Day.

THE WIPERS TIMES – Arts Theatre

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Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s WW1 set play THE WIPERS TIMES, follows a satirical magazine printed straight from the trenches of war-torn Belgian town, Ypres. Based on truth, the West End play is all about resolution in the face of adversity. The soldiers produce a cheerful, funny and subversive paper to lift the spirits of the men on the front line. To mark the centenary, the production will also stage a charity gala on Remembrance Sunday with proceeds going to the Royal British Legion.

BRASS – Union Theatre

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Southwark’s Union Theatre presents the professional premiere of Benjamin Till’s new musical BRASS. The show, set between Leeds and the frontline follows an amateur brass band who enlist together to fight in World War One. The musical also looks at the women who pick up the pieces in the munitions factory waiting on the men’s return. Originally commissioned by NYMT, The Union has presented a fantastic chance to see a pertinent new musical on a truly important subject.

WAR HORSE – National Theatre followed by UK Tour

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The National Theatre present the return of one of their most iconic exports in the stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s seminal WAR HORSE. Marianne Elliot and Tom Morris’ beautiful staging of a timeless story is unmissable. Handspring Puppet Company’s horses truly have to be seen to be believed. WAR HORSE preforms at the Lyttelton until January 2019 before embarking back around the UK. The production will also host a special Armistice Day showing where the material will undoubtedly have a sombre relevance.

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