Southport Dramatic Club have completed their main season of shows and it is almost time for their annual bar production which is staged each June.

The licensed bar of their resident theatre on Hoghton Street in Southport town centre is a well serviced performance space, with lighting rigs and numerous options for set up.

Often, the bar productions are performed “in the round” with the audience on all four sides.  For this year’s production, Lilies on the Land, the audience will be seated on three sides of the stage.  The capacity is 100, so you should book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

Lilies on the Land is an engaging and poignant drama charting the personal journeys of four women who sign up to join the Women’s Land Army during World War II.

In 2001, The Lions Part staged a play exploring the experiences of prisoners of war and sought to also stage a sister piece to voice the wartime experiences of women.

There was precious little information, so they decided to devise their own piece.  In order to research thoroughly and ensure that it was accurate and authentic, they wrote an open letter that was published in Saga magazine.  In this letter, they invited ex-Women’s Land Army members to consider sending any material relating to their experience.

The response was staggering – over 150 letters poured in providing memories and anecdotes as well as newspaper cuttings and memorabilia.  Many who had written in agreed to be interviewed, and even more valuable testimony was gleaned. 

Key elements of the experience shared by so many women from all walks of life became apparent.  They included signing up, weather, farming skills, animals, soldiers, dances, POWs, food, love and death.

Lilies on the Land opens on Tuesday 13th June and runs every evening until Saturday 17th June 2023

Lilies on the Land opens on Tuesday 13th June and runs every evening until Saturday 17th June 2023

As these offerings were collated and linked, a timeline emerged and so did a script.  Four clear characters emerged to tell their tales of how they came to sign up as well as their experiences (and those of their friends and family) throughout the war:

Margie (played by Jen Corcoran) is a warm, young Methodist hailing from the North East who has her eyes opened by the various encounters, but maintains her optimistic outlook;

Peggy (played by Lisa Tatler) is a confident young cockney who revels in getting stuck in to her role despite little farm experience;

Poppy (played by Wendy Cox) thwarted the expectations of her privileged Oxfordshire family by signing up for the land army, rather than the Wrens after falling for the poster – she soon proves to those that she works with that she is not easily deterred;

Vera (played by Marilyn Fletcher-Hill) is an educated and forward thinking young woman who finds freedom in joining up and forging her own path, and of course getting to wear breeches!

Throughout the play we also meet and hear about other women who signed up, various farmers and soldiers of multiple nationalities.

Director Paul Wilkinson is the ideal choice for this intimate and complex production.  The play is really about the day to day even though set against the backdrop of fear and horror.  With so many character voices shining through, as well as the passage of time, staging this show has challenges.

He has coached the actors in mime and uses their physicality and a skeleton set to excellent effect.  The audience will be trusted to absorb what they see, what they hear and what they already know and in turn will be rewarded with an enriched sense of the lives of these remarkable women.  The words and movement are complemented by singing and sound effects created both on and off stage.  Jon Andrews will be at the sound desk.

Lucy Mozley is supporting the cast by attending all of the rehearsals and standing in for any absent actors; she will be on hand should any understudy be required throughout the run.  Also in support is prompt, Lynne Hawksworth.  Not only is she keeping track of the dialogue, but is also on hand for historical facts and accuracy as well as supplying small, crocheted creatures!

Lilies on the Land opens on Tuesday 13th June and runs every evening until Saturday 17th June 2023.

Tickets can be booked online now via the Little Theatre website, or in person from Monday 5th June from 11am-1pm.

On performance days, the box office is also open from 5:30-7:30pm

For more information about Southport Dramatic Club, visit their website. For updates, competitions and more follow them on Facebook and Instagram

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at:

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