Oh What a Lovely War launches tour starring Wendi Peters

Oh What a Lovely War launches tour starring Wendi Peters

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

After Regeneration this autumn, we're looking forward to our next fill of 'World War One remembered' touring. Theatre Royal Stratford East's revival of Joan Littlewood's Oh What a Lovely War, which hits the road in February, starring Coronation Street's Wendi Peters. 

Following a sold-out run in spring 2014, Terry Johnson’s hit revival of Oh What A Lovely War will return to its spiritual home – Theatre Royal Stratford East – in January 2015, before embarking on a national tour. Wendi Peters (pictured) will lead the ensemble company, with further cast still to be announced.

Wendi Peters will come to Oh What a Lovely War straight from her West End season in White Christmas, with Aled Jones and Tom Chambers, at the Dominion Theatre. She is best known for her portrayal of the iconic Cilla Battersby in TV's Coronation Street, a role she returned to this year. Wendi's other recent stage credits include The Mystery of Edwin Drood in the West End and Rutherford and Son for Northern Broadsides on tour.

Oh What A Lovely War, a satirical musical about World War I, originally premiered at Theatre Royal Stratford East in 1963. Joan Littlewood adapted the play from Charles Chilton’s work for radio through her company Theatre Workshop. It was an immediate hit, transferring to the West End in June 1963, opening on Broadway in 1964 and receiving four Tony Award nominations including Best Musical.

This production, directed by Terry Johnson, opened at Theatre Royal Stratford East in February 2014, to public and critical acclaim. Due to popular demand, it returns again in 2015, little more than a hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War.

The musical is packed with familiar songs from the World War I era, including ‘It's a Long Way to Tipperary’, ‘Pack up Your Troubles’ and ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’, all of which are performed against a projected backdrop of images and shocking statistics conveying the harsh realities of war.

This revival was made possible by producer Christopher Malcolm, who passed away shortly after it opened at Stratford East in February 2014. This new tour will be produced by Christopher Malcolm Productions Ltd and Matthew Mitchell. 

Director Terry Johnson has won nine British theatre awards including Olivier Awards for Best Comedy and Playwright of the Year. In 2010 he won the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical for La Cage aux Folles. His theatre credits, as both director and writer, are prolific, including in recent years, End of the Rainbow (2010-11), which was nominated for three Oliviers, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (2009), Hysteria (2012) with Antony Sher, and also at Stratford East, 'Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be with Jessie Wallace.

Oh What a Lovely War runs at Stratford East from 29 January to 7 February 2015, and then tours to Richmond Theatre, Malvern Theatres, Manchester Opera House, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Theatre Royal Bath, Torquay's Princess Theatre, Guildford's Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Coventry's Belgrade Theatre, Theatre Royal Brighton, Leicester Curve, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Birmingham Rep, Truro's Hall for Cornwall and back to London at the New Wimbledon Theatre, where the tour concludes on 30 May 2015.

Watch out for more news about Theatre Cloud's involvement with this landmark production...