First there was the idea. Three bids to Arts Council England later, five bold new plays looking at the First World War through a domestic lens were in development. This is the biggest venture yet by key writing group Big Script in an exciting re-launched venue at the Custard Factory, with acclaimed director Ian Craddock in charge.


Home Service by Andy Alsop

We read the names of the fallen on memorials, but what of those left behind? In the industrial heartlands Gert and Aggie, Minnie and Will struggle through the middle years of the Great War from the first Zeppelin raids to the disaster of the Somme.

Gert, recently bereaved but fun-loving, is looking for a new man.  Minnie is long widowed by the Boer War. Will, her one remaining son, is bent on revenge for his brothers' deaths. All are held together by the thoughtful and dependable Aggie.

This is a glimpse of their story, their optimism and patriotism, grief , despair and laughter.  

Volunteer for Murder by Andrew McCoy

Geoffrey died on the battlefield in France but who made him volunteer? Was it his wife or Reverend Mauve, the fire and brimstone vicar? Or was it Lady Bradley, Geoffrey's mother and the matriarch of the family?

In this comedy mystery the three suspects are gathered in the drawing room. After all have told their story, it is down to the great detective Hercule Privet to reveal who is responsible for the death of Geoffrey Bradley.

Perversion of Science by Liz John 

Berlin May 1st 1915. Scientist Clara Immerwahr's conscience can bear no more. As her husband Fritz Haber prepares to take thousands of tons of deadly gas to the Eastern Front she decides she cannot - will not - be part of it.

Sometime after midnight, while her young son sleeps upstairs, Clara shoots herself in the heart with her husband's military pistol. This short play, dealing with two characters from  German history and one fictional creation, imagines the moments leading up to Clara's untimely death. What might drive a loving mother to this inconceivable action? 

A family drama with a strong emotional punch.  

Without Our Consent by Julia Wright

Rose - a young working class woman from Birmingham - finds something to believe in and more importantly, give her heart to. As World War One takes hold of her daily life her dreams are shattered and her beliefs questioned. The drudgery of work in Longbridge munitions factory takes its toll on all who work there.

What hope can there be for the future when the present is demeaning and debilitating? Being on the right side may not always provide enough consolation for the loss of loved ones and the bone-deep fatigue experienced by those who kept the home fires burning?

A political play with a local flavour and an experimental structure.


Fading Light by Martin Drury

In 1915 Peter Hubbard is home from the Front Line on leave and being treated to a party with other returners. However it is hard for him to keep his mind on the matter in hand.

His family are concerned by his emotional distance and his wife has some important news, but he can only think about the men with whom he shared the last few months.

A daring theatrical exploration of a war damaged psyche. 


We have started to make the scripts for this production available in flipbook form. Please click on the link below.