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'A Night in the West End, 1914-1918': A Lecture-Concert

Brooks, Helen E.M. and Hanna, Emma (2019) 'A Night in the West End, 1914-1918': A Lecture-Concert. Performance type: Musical event A Night in the West End, 1914-1918: A Lecture-Concert, 27 April 2019, Westgate Hall, Canterbury. Script. (KAR id:73664)


In August 1914 theatre managers were worried about the impact of the war on their businesses. Yet rather than causing a decline in theatre-going, the war provided a much-needed boost to the British theatre industry. Across the country theatres played a vital role in the war effort: encouraging recruitment, raising money for various war charities, and, maintaining the morale of both civilians and service personnel.

London theatres, with their proximity to the train stations at which men would disembark for their short periods of leave, had a particular role to play. To men on leave from the front, as B. F. Findon wrote, ‘a good entertainment is one of the best panaceas for the physical and mental stress to which they are subjected [when] they are ‘facing the music' in the trenches. Two hours and a half in a London theatre is a fine tonic. It makes them, for the time being, forget the past, enjoy the present, and provides pleasurable reminiscences when they have to endure the grim realities of war’. It was a sentiment echoed across both the media and in official announcements. ‘The people’s amusements’ as Lord Derby announced in January 1917 ‘should go on’ and ‘those who come home should be met with cheerful faces, and their time away from the trenches made amusing’.

In this lecture-concert Dr Emma Hanna and Dr Helen Brooks bring together their respective expertise in the histories of wartime music and wartime theatre to explore the story of the wartime West End. With the Invicta Concert Band and professional singers bringing the songs to life, this is a unique opportunity to experience the music and stories from some of the biggest hits of the war years, including Chu Chin Chow, A Little Bit of Fluff, and The Bing Boys Are Here.

Item Type: Performance
Uncontrolled keywords: music; musicals; First World War; Great War; theatre; West-End; London; wartime; culture
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D203 Modern History, 1453-
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN441 Literary History
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The theatre
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Helen Brooks
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2019 13:03 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2022 21:15 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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