Special remembrance tributes are planned to the fallen WW1 heroes of the Barnsley Pals during performances of Oh, What a Lovely War at the town’s Lamproom theatre, writes Graham Walker.
The production, directed by John Kelly, has been timed to mark the start of the 100th anniversary of the Great War.
Many of the so-called Barnsley Pals, men from the town who had worked then fought together, died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, on July 1, 1916.
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Oh, What A Lovely War began life as a BBC Home Service radio broadcast of Charles Chilton’s production, The Long Trail, in November 1962,
It evolved into the major award winning stage play and film.
Joan Littlewood and her company of players at The Theatre Royal, Stratford East, collaborated with Chilton and Gerry Raffles to create the evocative and deeply moving antiwar musical play
It reopened at Stratford’s Theatre Royal earlier this year and The Lamproom Theatre Company have been granted performance rights during this special centennial year of remembrance.
The musical play inspired John, the Lamproom Theatre’s Writer In Residence, to create in homage to the original, Keep Calm & Sing For Victory, which was performed a year ago by the Lamproom Youth Theatre Ensemble, or LYTE.
John, father of award winning Mr Selfridge and former Coronation Street star Katherine Kelly, said: “We’ve been trying to compile a list of all the Barnsley Pals who gave their lives in the First World War to read them out during our production Oh, What A Lovely War.
“It is a very powerful anti-war play. It seemed apt to put this on now, to mark the anniversary of the start of the First World War.
“It’s a great piece of social observation and very emotional.”
Oh, What A Lovely War opened last night and plays tonight, Saturday and Sunday, November 8 and 9. It will then run from Tuesday to Saturday, November 11 to 15, 7.30pm.
* Tickets are £12 adults, £11 concessions, may be subject to fees. Buy in person from the venue in Westgate. Or visit www.barnsleylamproom.com.