During WWI, the Royal Arsenal site in Woolwich was a hive of activity. Around 80,000 people were employed to churn out weapons, test ammunition and tinker with explosives on its 1285 acres. Though its military days are no more, theatre company Teatro Vivo, along with Greenwich Young People’s Theatre, are invoking some of the site’s ghosts with a striking new version of Bertolt Brecht’s anti-war masterpiece ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’. The companies are staging an innovative promenade production though Woolwich’s own war history around the old canons of the Arsenal.
One of the most revered plays of the last century, ‘Mother Courage’ follows a wheeling-dealing canteen woman who pulls her cart and her three kids through war-torn surroundings, making gains from the chaos that armies leave in their wake. The show is being staged to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of WWI and will feature a community chorus of 30 local people. The Ministry of Defence has long since upped sticks from the Arsenal, and the area is now going through a regeneration project, but this should be an intriguing way to remind us of its fascinating history.
Find out more about ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’, Sept 5-21.