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No Man’s Land: two plays about the role of women during World War One

Posted: 12th February 2019

No Man’s Land: two plays about the role of women during World War One

Titchfield Festival Theatre is proud to announce details of its latest production opening this month: No Man’s Land. The two plays are set in World War One and celebrate the importance of female friendships from the perspective of middle and working class women.

The two plays are Victim Always Dies and The Canary Girls, both written by the late Paul King, a popular local playwright who sadly died in 2018. The play is produced by his son Robert and directed by Eleanor Blackham in his memory. Paul was a long-standing member of the theatre, having originally written and toured with the play to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War in 2014, visiting schools, libraries and museums. We are now delighted to give local audiences the opportunity to see this show which includes just three female actors, each of whom perform a variety of different roles in both plays.

Victim Always Dies tells the story of two middle class young women who volunteered for the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD), an organisation established to help alleviate the desperate shortage of nurses. They played an invaluable role in the war effort and saved many lives. In the typical black humour of the troops VADs were referred to as 'very active dusters' or 'victim always dies'.

The Canary Girls is set against the background of the battle of the Somme and this play and tells the story of a young munitionette. Almost all of the thousands of artillery shells and millions of bullets fired by the British Armed Forces in World War One were made by women; the chemicals used to make munitions were toxic and turned the hair green and the skin yellow, as a result the workers were nicknamed 'canary girls'. Some workers died from the poisons and many were killed in explosions.

Director Eleanor Blackham – who is making her Titchfield directorial début - says,

“100 years after the conflict, there are still many things we are discovering about the First World War and this play seeks to both educate and entertain our patrons about two very different groups of women – from a feminist perspective. There are no male characters throughout, each of our talented and multi-skilled actors performing several parts. They are two really great stories and we are truly proud to showcase both as a fitting tribute to Paul.”

Producer Robert King says,

“We are fortunate to have such a superb and strong cast who have come together to perform No Man’s Land, all of whom are experienced members of Titchfield Festival Theatre. It is an honour to produce the show in memory of my father and I would encourage people to come along and enjoy what promises to be an excellent production.”  

No Man’s Land opens on Monday 18th February 2019 until Saturday 23rd February at 7.30pm in the Acorn Studio, Titchfield Festival Theatre, St Margarets Lane, Titchfield PO14 4BG.

For more information, please go to http://titchfieldfestivaltheatre.com/or contact our Box Office on 01329 556156.