Well Remembered Voices: 11th November


A one-day public event exploring how theatre responded to the events of 1914-1918, and a rare opportunity to see performances of wartime plays. The event is co-run by the Marlowe Theatre, Gateways to the First World War, and the School of Arts, University of Kent, and in collaboration with the University of Kent Special Collections.

Plenty is known about the poetry, literature, art, and cinema of the First World War. Yet when we think about the theatre we often turn to post-war plays such as Journey’s End and Oh What a Lovely War! As the first of a series of events at the Marlowe marking the centenary of the First World War, Well Remembered Voices examines how the war impacted on the theatre, and considers what the drama written and performed during the war can tell us about attitudes towards, and experiences of the war. Including discussion of J.M. Barrie’s thoughtful 1918 play A Well Remembered Voice and talks from leading academics, and culminating in an evening performance of a selection of one-act First World War plays offering different perspectives on the war, the event will highlight the importance of this long neglected period of theatre history to understanding cultural responses to the First World War.


The morning session focuses of the theatrical context of the First World War, considering repertoire, audiences, and the impact of the war on the theatre. In light of this context, in the afternoon we focus on the plays produced during the war and their relevance today.


  • 9.30-10 Registration
  • 10-10.30 Introductory Talk: an overview of the varied ways in which theatre and drama responded to, and were shaped by, the war between 1914 and 1918. Topics covered will include popular genres and plays; conditions shaping the drama such as censorship; attitudes towards actors; and changing audiences.
  • 10.30-11.30 Hands-on with WW1 Theatrical Sources: an opportunity to get ‘stuck in’ examining playbills, programmes, manuscripts, and more. Jane Gallagher from the University of Kent’s Special Collections will introduce participants to the materials available at Kent, and Dr Helen Brooks will talk about other archives and digital resources.
  • 11.30-11.45 Break and Refreshments
  •  11.45-1 Spectatorship and the First World War: Professor Viv Gardner from the University of Manchester will talk about how the war changed audiences and spectatorship.



  • 2-3.30pm Three WW1 Plays: a seminar discussion around a selection of WW1 plays (available to download in advance), the themes they tackle, and their contemporary reception. What is the relevance of such plays today and in relation to commemorative activities?
  •  3.30-3.45pm Refreshments
  •  3.45-5pm Re-staging WW1 drama: Dr Andrew Maunder, Reader at the University of Hertfordshire will talk about plays of the First World War and his experience in re-staging a number of these ‘lost’ plays, considering the light they shed on wartime experience.


  • 7pm Rehearsed Readings of selected one-act playsoffering different perspectives on/attitudes toward the war


To book your place, visit: http://www.marlowetheatre.com/page/3465/Well-Remembered-Voices-Symposium-and-Play-Readings/789#HowtoBook