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Oh What A Lovely War

November 21st to 24th 2018.

JOAN LITTLEWOOD’S Musical Entertainment


By Theatre Workshop, Charles Chilton, Gerry Raffles and

Members of the Original Cast

Title Suggested by Ted Allan

This amateur production of Oh What A Lovely War is presented

by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH LTD

Click Pictures To Enlarge.

OWALW Programme  (1)
OWALW Programme  (2)
Oh What A Lovely War Group
Carole Smith.JPG


Carole Smith


Musical Director

Michael Pritchard

Play Description

Oh What A Lovely War is a satirical look at World War One. It chronicles the story of the conflict using songs and documents of the period, in a seemingly light-hearted way with the cast performing in pierrot costumes.  

It was first performed by Theatre Workshop directed by Joan Littlewood in 1963, where It won the Grand Prix of the Theatre des Nations festival.

Drama Club's Emotional Journey Through The Great War

By Colin Tapping Hexham Courant (link to page)

VERY few communities across the UK could have marked the centenary of the end of the First World War more fittingly than Riding Mill.

The village has been festooned with thousands of knitted poppies, painstakingly crafted by residents over the past two years.

The dramatic displays have provided the backdrop for various local services and events to mark the solemnity of the occasion.

Also two years in the planning, has been the drama club’s production of Oh What A Lovely War.

Fittingly, this theatrical chronicle of the horrors of the Great War surpassed the high standards expected of this talented group of players.

Like the village’s programme of events in and around Armistice Day, it was utterly outstanding.

Oh What A Lovely War is a hugely ambitious challenge for any drama club to undertake. It has a large cast and chorus, engaged in sketches and singalong music, along with scene changes and movements of rapid-fire velocity.

Under Carole Smith’s painstaking directorship, with able assistance from musical director Michael Pritchard, the challenge was overcome with polished aplomb.

The company of 15 on stage, with backing from a seven-strong chorus and the expertise of pianist Di Dickinson, gripped the audience from start to finish with a glorious concoction of slapstick, satire, singing and sadness.

A complex two-hour journey through the phases of the war was completed without a flaw, thanks to the skill of the cast and hard-pressed backstage team.

Such were the ample skills of the cast in a fast-changing myriad of roles, it was impossible to single out any individual for mention. This was an impeccable triumph for teamwork.

The opening set the scene perfectly, conveying the sentimentality and jingoism which so marked the early stages of the war.

Gradually, almost imperceptibly, the mood changed as the war transitioned into the tragic stalemate in the trenches which cost so many lives for so little gain.

The Riding Mill audience went home with the title song reverberating in their heads.

But not before the haunting penultimate song – And When They Ask Us – reminded everyone of the ultimate futility of the war and the humility of all those who survived it.

Sample Of The Many Pictures

For All The Pictures Click Google Link At The Bottom Of The Page

Full Slideshow Of The Show From Rehearsals

to Final Production. (longer version)


Slideshow Of The Show Only (shorter)

Full Set Build PDF

Compiled By Matt Osmond

Oh What A Lovely War Stage Manager

Why Does the Title Need Explanation

Interesting Facts about this play and its licence.

Below is a excerpt from the play licence.

This amateur production of “Oh What a Lovely War” is presented

by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD.

4. Author(s) Credit. The Author(s)'s name (including composer(s) and lyricist(s) and, as applicable, translator/adaptor's name) will appear in all instances in which the title of the Work appears, including all programs, house boards, and publicity and advertising in all media (including all print and electronic media) within the control of Licensee.


The name of the Author(s) will appear on a separate line on which no other name appears as set forth below: immediately following the title of the Work and will appear in size of type not less than fifty

percent (50%) of the size of the title type, as follows:

JOAN LITTLEWOOD’S Musical Entertainment


By Theatre Workshop, Charles Chilton, Gerry Raffles and Members of the Original Cast

Title Suggested by Ted Allan

The words “Title suggested by Ted Allan” must be one third the size of the preceding copy.

For perhaps a explanation to why this part of the licence terms and conditions are so strict,

click the links below to visit the story written by Matthew Sweet in the Telegraph in 2014

and the BBC review from 2011

About The Play

On-line Information below

External Websites

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, This article is about the 1963 stage musical.


Oh, What a Lovely War! is an epic musical developed by Joan Littlewood and her ensemble at the Theatre Workshop in 1963.



The idea for the production started on Armistice Day 1962 when Gerry Raffles heard the repeat of the second version of Charles Chilton's radio musical for the BBC Home Service, called The Long Long Trail about World War I. Written and produced by Chilton in memory of his father whose name was inscribed  Click Here to read the rest of the story on WikiVisual

From The BBC News Website Nov 2011

The popular view of World War I underwent a big revision in the 1960s, with at least part of the change following the success of the stage show Oh! What a Lovely War. It started as a BBC radio script and ended up as a multi-million-dollar movie, but why did it strike such a chord? Click here to read the full story.

bbc news.JPG

Oh, What a Lovely War: Why the battle still rages


Fifty years after first playing to shell-shocked audiences, Oh, What a Lovely War is still causing controversy.

As the dark WW1 musical is revived, Matthew Sweet asks why

Review about the play from The Telegraph 1st Feb 2014

Click Here To Follow the link to the Telegraph Website

Click below to go to the Photo Gallery (Google Pictures)

For all the Pictures

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