WW1 Home Front

Jan 9 2015 | By More

People’s voice heard in powerful new play

The people of Edinburgh are at the forefront of When the War Came Home, a new play about the first world war being staged this coming week by Citadel Arts Group and the WEA Scotland.

Written by seven members of the Workers Education Association’s playwrights workshop, When the War Came Home will be performed by the Leith-based theatre company under the direction of Liz Hare.

Euan Bennet, Andrea McKenzie and Rob Flett. Photo Liz Hare

Euan Bennet, Andrea McKenzie and Rob Flett. Photo Liz Hare

The play will get two public outings: On Wednesday 14 at St Brides and Friday 16 at Tynecastle High. It gives voice to the people of Edinburgh caught up in World War I whether fighting at the front or threatened by Zeppelin raids and working with dangerous chemicals in munitions factories in Edinburgh.

“The script expresses a range of attitudes to the Great War,” Liz Hare told Æ, “including the protests of courageous pacifist Chrystal MacMillan.

“Unlike most of the current TV programmes and plays about World War I, we show how ordinary Edinburgh people were affected by the war – caught up in the Zeppelin raid that hit Marshall Street and the White Hart Inn in the Grassmarket, women poisoned by TNT while working in munitions and young men lying about their ages to get to the Front.”


In order to hold the various historically correct strands of the play together, the playwrights have created the fictional character of Iain Sutherland, a journalist on the Scotsman/Evening Dispatch, which scandalised Edinburgh society when it brought out its first ever Sunday edition to announce the outbreak of the war.

Andrea McKenzie and Rob Flett. Rehearsal photo Liz Hare

Andrea McKenzie and Rob Flett. Rehearsal photo Liz Hare

“The script explores the impact of World War I on ordinary and some well-known Edinburgh people,” Liz Hare said. “We give voice to the Hearts supporters who volunteered to fight beside their heroes: the Hearts players, in McCrae’s Batallion.

“Other scenes show pioneering Edinburgh Doctor, Dr Elsie Inglis imprisoned by the Germans in Serbia and Wilfred Owen teaching English in Tynecastle High while recovering from shell shock at Craiglockhart Hospital.”

When the War Came Home will be performed by Euan Bennet, Rob Flett, Mark Kydd and Andrea McKenzie, who all take on a multitude of roles. Its creation is part of the WEA’s Chronicles of the War project and was written by Jim Brown, Elaine Campbell, John Lamb, Brian Lincoln, Carolyn Lincoln, Alan Mountford and Graham Townend.

“It’s such a powerful play, well researched, full of pathos, song and even some humour,” added Liz Hare. “We know Edinburgh audiences are going to love it!”


When the War Came Home
Wednesday 14 January 2015, 7pm.
St Bride’s Centre, 10 Orwell Terrace. EH11 2DZ

Friday 16 January 2015: 7pm
Tynecastle High School, 2 MacLeod Street, EH11 2ND

Tickets priced £8 (£6 concessions) are available by emailing: ftennick@hotmail.com or by phone on: 01875340717

When the War Came Home Poster


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