Stepping inside the First World War

A practical, ‘History Through Drama’ learning experience at your school (for Y5/6) led by Rob John (a drama specialist and BBC playwright)

The children will actively engage in 5 imagined experiences, which will enable them to learn creatively and to understand, remember and reflect on, some of the key events of the First World War.

The 5 key drama experiences will be:
• ‘Your country needs you’ ; recruiting a volunteer army, joining up, leaving home, saying goodbye
• ‘Life in trenches’ ; building a trench, food, post, no man’s land, defence and attack, Christmas 1914
• ‘Women at War’ ; Munitions workers (the Canary Girls), Land Army, Factory work, how women replaced the men.
• ‘Attack from the sky’ ; A Zeppelin attack on a civilian targets.
• ‘The End. Armistice and Remembrance’ ; how people reacted as the war ended and how we remember those who died.

The learning will be supported by:
• A series of vivid teacher roles
• Contemporary music, sound effects and artefacts
• A wide range of source material
• Reference to local events and memorials
• A list of follow-up activities for teachers.

Children will:
• Meet a series of characters, some fictitious and some from real life
• Take on roles in individually, in pairs, in larger groups and in a whole group
• Reflect on some of the key events both in and out of role
• Undertake writing in role tasks including eye witness accounts, letters and diaries.

Children will also write their own war poems.

Sharing the experience: Schools may wish to provide the opportunity for the children to share their experiences and learning with others towards the end of the day, e.g. presenting to another class or classes and/or to assembled parents. Please note that this would be a guided, ‘Sharing our Learning’ presentation for about 15 minutes and not a theatrical performance.

Cost: £370
The day is intended for Year 5 and/or Y6 children. The practical workshops can be with one class (all day) or 2 classes (one class in the morning and the other in the afternoon).

For further information and to book, please email Patrice Baldwin at

Rob John is a playwright, teacher and drama consultant who has been teaching drama and training teachers to use drama as a creative teaching and learning medium, for nearly thirty years. His recent work for the BBC includes Archie Dobson’s War a children’s radio play about World War One and the ‘A-Z of World War One’ a series of monologues for BBC2 TV Learning Zone.

Rob is co-author (with Patrice Baldwin) of Inspiring Writing Through Drama. His stage plays include Living with Lady Macbeth which has been performed by schools and Youth Theatres all over the world and The Spaceman. His recent plays for fEast Theatre include Parachute and The Canada Boys. Rob has written several plays for BBC Radio 4 and numerous scripts and stories for BBC Schools radio and television.