Recovering First World War Theatre is a theatre history project run by Dr Helen Brooks, a senior lecturer at the University of Kent and Co-Investigator on the Gateways to the First World War project.

Compared to the poetry, literature, and cinema produced during the First World War, British theatre has long been overlooked. During the centenary of the conflict this project aims to rectify this by examining all the plays written and performed across Scotland, Wales and England during the war.

Across Britain, between 1 July 1914 and 31 December 1918,  2,971 new plays were written and submitted for performance license to the Lord Chamberlain’s Office. The vast majority were then licensed and went on to be premiered at theatres across Scotland, Wales and England. A significant number of these dealt with the war.

Looking at these plays, this project considers how British theatre produced between 1914 and 1918 might have responded both practically and ideologically to the war, as well as how it might have shaped public ideas about and attitudes towards the conflict. In analysing plays staged at theatres across Great Britain the project will also shed new light on particular geographic or temporal experiences of the war.