Keith Slater

This new play, written by Malcolm Stent and Don Maclean, with musical direction by Keith Slater, is the story of best mates Jackie Moore and Danny Arrowsmith, seventeen years of age and intent on abandoning their apprenticeships in favour of adventure.

The summer of 1914 heard the threat of war rumbling around Europe and by August Britain was at war with Germany. So here it was, the opportunity the boys had been seeking, a chance for foreign travel with wages, clothing, bed and board thrown in. Most people believed it would all be over by Christmas but not everyone was so sure. Either way Jackie and Danny were desperate to join up and have a go at the Germans before it was all over.

Field Marshal Lord Kitchener, feared a long conflict, one that would drain Britain to its “last million men.”  He called for volunteers to join his “New Army.” Knowing men would be more likely to enlist if they could fight alongside their friends he set up “Pals Battalions”, groups of men from the same city, village, workplace or sports club who trained and fought together. The City of Birmingham put up three Pals Battalions, the 14th, 15th and 16th Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

Jackie and Danny enlist in the 14th and serve together all through World War 1, from recruitment and training, through the Battle of the Somme, Italy and back to France. This is the moving story of two ordinary boys, their lives and loves and their families caught up in the horrors of the war to end all wars. With five new songs written by Malcolm and Keith and one by Don, alongside “Trench” songs sung by the soldiers, this a story not to be missed.