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Theatre in the War Zone

Hanna, Emma (2022) Theatre in the War Zone. In: Brooks, Helen E.M., ed. Edinburgh Companion to First World War Theatre. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, UK. (In press) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:92232)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)


Theatre was an important aspect of the wartime experience for British servicemen in every arena of the First World War. Servicemen’s theatrical activities reminded servicemen of their pre-war lives, providing a ‘safety valve’ for the dissipation of tensions, resentments and anxieties experienced by those serving in the forces. Furthermore, theatrical activities were ‘counter attractions’ purposefully employed to keep men away from less desirable activities. Like sports, music and the cinema, the involvement of servicemen in theatrical productions - as cast, crew or audience - encouraged men away from alcohol, gambling and brothels, the consequences of which could result in indiscipline, violence and venereal disease which were all detrimental to the British war effort. This chapter will examine how servicemen’s theatre was organized by those serving within the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force on various fighting fronts. It will also look at professional civilian performers who took theatrical productions to the troops. From the emergence of the earliest servicemen’s theatrical troupes to the development of professional Divisional Concert Parties, this chapter explores the importance of theatrical entertainments through a discussion of the content and the practicalities of how they were staged.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: First World War, theatre, concert parties, plays, music, British Army, Royal Navy, RFC
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
N Visual Arts > N Visual arts (General). For photography, see TR
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Emma Hanna
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2021 17:02 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2021 17:02 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Hanna, Emma:
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