Lost Plays of World War One

The Kings Theatre has successfully secured funding from Arts Council England to re-stage and re-imagine ‘The Lost Plays of WW1’ The Kings Theatre was one of the leading theatres in the country that premiered new war plays during WW1, with powerful messages sent out via the theatre and music halls.

Theatre and performance helped shape people’s understanding of the conflict, and was a propaganda tool for recruitment and raising the population’s morale. This project will bring alive the lost plays during WW1 offering performers & audiences a unique theatrical experience.

Katrina Henderson, Community Engagement Officer said “This is amazing and I can’t wait to get started. The idea of putting on a play here from a hundred years ago is extremely exciting and probably a little bit challenging as we will want to remain true to the script. Each segment of the project is quite unique and gives a clear insight into theatrical life in WW1”.    

The Lost Plays Project

  • The play Lads of the Village is a comedy set in the WW1 to lift moral of the troops. It was last performed at the Kings Theatre 100 years ago and is a cross between Black Adder and Allo Allo: there is a lot of dressing up, mistaken identity and musical hilarity. It will be performed at the Kings Theatre.
  • Children from Mayfield School in Portsmouth will work with professional actors, writers and directors to inspire them to develop their own voice and write and perform 3 new plays that will be performed on the Kings Theatre stage, each will last approximately 8-10 minutes and will be inspired by WW1.
  • The third part of the project is to record an adaptation of a WW1 radio play which will be released on the Kings Theatre social media or on a local radio station.
  • A short documentary film has also been made with the help from industry professionals and pupils from St Georges Beneficial School - it includes archive material and interviews with historians.
  • History boards containing all the archive information about the Kings Theatre from WW1 will be permanently mounted in an exhibition at the Kings Theatre and a touring exhibition will go out to the wider community.

The project allowed the public to discuss, contribute, share and research information about the Theatre during WW1.

The highlight of the project was a performance on Wednesday 12th July when all four elements came together to celebrate the Lost Plays of War.