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Queen's Theatre musical looks at women during the war

PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 October 2019

WWII Ambulance Driver Ethel Morrison featured in Mummy, What Did You Do musical for Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch. Picture: Diana Vucane

WWII Ambulance Driver Ethel Morrison featured in Mummy, What Did You Do musical for Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch. Picture: Diana Vucane

Archant

A new musical highlights the hidden history of the role of women during the Second World War by getting participants to research what their mothers and grandmothers did during the war.

Peggy Bennett, Jane Harder and Millie Dunn from Mummy, What Did You Do musical for Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch. Picture: Diana VucanePeggy Bennett, Jane Harder and Millie Dunn from Mummy, What Did You Do musical for Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch. Picture: Diana Vucane

Mummy, What Did You Do? is in rehearsals at Hornchurch's Queen's Theatre and the title is a play on the propaganda posters asking what Daddy did during the war.

Local Girl Productions director Lauren Bracewell worked with writer Joel Samuels and 35 participants, aged from 10 to women in their 80s, to piece together personal stories, alongside ones they've researched with four new songs from composer Andrew Linham.

Lauren said: "The idea first came about last year when the company worked on a piece on suffragettes and the ladies liked digging into their family history for it so this year we decided to do a similar piece on the Second World War."

The company has a few participants with first-hand experience of war stories and actress Emma Feeney will be playing her grandmother Ethel Morrison, an ambulance driver.

Kathy Donald from Mummy, What Did You Do musical for Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch. Picture: Diana VucaneKathy Donald from Mummy, What Did You Do musical for Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch. Picture: Diana Vucane

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Emma said: "My grandmother was driving to the injured in Norwich while it was being bombed and she didn't know if they would even make it there themselves."

Emma hopes to honour her grandmother as the gentle character she knew but one who had this experience and force behind her.

Writer Joel said: "The writing was a careful process as we wanted to do justice to our participants' personal stories and weaving it into Andrew's beautiful music."

Kim Wright, Heidi Smith and Sharon Sims from Mummy, What Did You Do musical for Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch. Picture: Diana VucaneKim Wright, Heidi Smith and Sharon Sims from Mummy, What Did You Do musical for Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch. Picture: Diana Vucane

Composer Andrew, who lives in Upminster and works at the Ardleigh Green Learning Federation, said: "We are really celebrating the work of the community by the community."

Joel said: "The show is lovely and not as depressing as you might think from the subject matter because we wanted to focus on the amazing postive contribution of all these women."

The musical is running on the foyer stage at the Queen's Theatre on November 23 at 3.30pm and 7.30pm.

The sold out matinee is free for anyone born before 1945 but tickets for the evening show can be purchased at www.queens-theatre.co.uk.

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