Sheffield Stories – Home Front Stories of the First World War

In 2015 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a First World War Then and Now grant for Whitworks Adventures in Theatre to work with five schools in Sheffield, researching home front stories of World War I. This was a fantastic project which saw children from Years 5 & 6 engage with a wide range of themes including food, entertainment, women’s work and the legacy of disability. Part of the bid included creating plays from the research which would be central to an English Education Resource and Celebration Event held in June 2017

Drawing on the stories discovered by the children, Paul and Gertie Whitfield developed four plays, bringing the children from all five schools together to share with the wider Sheffield community some of the contrasting experiences of what life was like on the Home Front.

They have now very kindly made the Education Resource available for use by other schools and full National Curriculum details are available here 

The four plays are:

  1. Aliens? – A play exploring the story of Winifred Burnet trying to help her friend who falls victim to the Sheffield anti-German riots in May 1915. The play also reflects the status of women at the time of World War I and the research done by one of the schools on entertainment.
  2. Ernest – A play telling the story of a young man called Ernest Misson and his family across the whole of World War I. It explores the impact of his father’s service during World War I and subsequent injury.
  3. Heroes? – A play that tells the story of Arnold Loosemore who was awarded the Victoria Cross, from the point of view of his son after the war.
  4. Buck Up! – A play about Painted Fabrics, an organisation set up after World War I in Sheffield to enable disabled servicemen to work. It is written from the point of view of the children that grew up there and in particular tells the story of Arthur Fisher and his family.