"As an ex-soldier I found it riveting - I didn't take my eyes off the stage at all!"
|The Little Victory Ball||
Imagine approaching a richly decorated stage hung with red velvet curtains and hand-painted twenties style billboards and stage signs.
The war is over. The performers tell their stories of what they are going to do on 11th November 1918 the First Armistice. We also discover their activities on 19th July 1919 Peace Day and again during the ceremony of the burial of the unknown warrior in 1920.
The first performer is a ‘canary’ as she is tinged yellow due to having worked with TNT making munitions during the war. Her name is Ethel. She is young and excited and although her brother died during the war, she believes life is for living and he would want her to live. She is going dancing.
Elsie is older and wearing black. Elsie will hold up a placard with how many men were missing – 560,000. Two years ago her son was reported missing, but today he is going to be returned to her - it is the day the unknown warrior is entombed in Westminster Abbey. She believes, as do many other women, that this is her son. She will go to central London to attend the funeral of her son, along with 5,400 other mourners.
For Dottie, her Bill did come back. He goes out walking most evenings and coughs a bit. On 11th November he’ll go out with Percy from his regiment and they will talk about the lads who did not come back. Dottie is brushing down the threadbare coat that Bill will wear to the cenotaph, touching the pawn ticket pinned where his medals should be. Bill hasn't worked since he returned. Dottie does a bit of dress making, sits at home quietly of an evening, she is confused – she should be happy, but he is shutting her out.
The narrator is an ephemeral figure, a showgirl dressed to go to a Victory Ball, and she too has her story.
The scripts are based on oral histories and newspaper accounts, poignant war poetry is included. The audience is encouraged to join the cast to sing songs relating to the War or from the period.
Did you know that?
Victory Balls were very odd affairs, featuring women dressed up as bunches of grapes or giant powder puffs, men dressed as cockerels or as Little Bo Peep!
Films of our
Sioux misses the war and she wasn't even there! Obsessive about how many times she can talk about World War One, she instigated the show and bosses everyone around with her desire for authenticity. in the 80's she was in an agency for Punks and Skins when she was in Scandalous with John Geilgud and a Punk model, she then toured festivals with The Vagina Monologues. However her dream is to sit in a library researching First World War souvenirs.
Our resident wonderful singer. Lovely dresses, always ready to rehearse with strong attention to detail. A regular performer and singer.
Stage and museum builder, site manager, prop maker, sirens and sound. Very knowledgeable about showmen during the war and obsessed with buying vintage caravans - always has a lighter and a supply of emergency cable ties. Also very very good at climbing trees.
Film, photography, lighting, sound effects, smoke and sirens. And owner of many types of mustard and pickles.
The beautiful Joe, guitarist and singer, always ready to dance with all of the girls. A natural performer and always entertaining at breakfast.
Jo loves to dress up in skimpy flapper dresses even in February. Yoga teacher and lover of children, Jo also makes natural cosmetics and features in many vintage punk photographs.
Sali - one of Americas sweet potato queens, Land Girl and instigator of the well-loved Little Victory Ball raffle. Known for glamorous pink hair and sequinned golden boots. Vintage clothing specialist, lover of vintage boudoir interiors and creator of delicious cakes.
Jim lives in Spain and only appears with The Little Victory Ball in the Summer when its too hot at home!
He loves being the bossy sergeant but actually wants to sit in the pub drinking English beer and reading the paper - other shows include the film Titanic with Kate Winslet and Wimbledon.
Rachy G - marketing and PR wonder as well as having the ability to glam down for a photo shoot. The queen of the understated pretty dress, even when dog walking. Wonderous cake maker and dancer.
Girl Alex joined us after seeing a performance we gave, she didn't need much encouragement to join us- previously a teacher who told us she couldn't sing now joins in the singalongs with gusto. A wonderful addition to the team.
Lover of glamour and culture, laughing at the absurd. Creator of beautiful spaces a true performer and special friend 1964-2016 R.I.P sweet Angel xx
French speaker and hoarder of family clothing going back three generations - so always on hand for the odd wartime outfit. One of the performers from The Vagina Monologues touring company and a calming influence . With her wonderful labels and tin of biscuits Madam makes evacuation feel like fun.
Stella, the newcomer, full of enthusiasm for anything that includes dressing up in WW1 and WW2 outfits and make up. Loves to dance and pretends she can sing! Stella wants to share in this adventure of showing a part of our history that touched so many lives. A definite 'have a go' kind of person.
Redd is a free lance sculptor and artist - the painter for many of our props. Redd is known for riding bikes too fast and drilling into his own hands - therefore the bandages are not always false!
In character Redd is the one selling dodgy stockings and offering cheeky bits of meat to the ladies.
To Rowan the war was a place in which forms had to be filled in, in precise detail. A creator of the phrase the devil is in the detail there is no better performer than Rowan.
Graduate of Dartington school of the arts and currently training to be a drama coach, give her a pointy stick and a clipboard and she relishes the challenge of getting the crowds in order when giving out ration books and clothing coupons!