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Ended 13 May 2017 after 53 days

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What this play brilliantly conveys, without any sentimentality and with copious gags, is that the production of a few fragile pieces of paper came almost to matter more to those chaps involved than life itself.

The Telegraph

Closed 13 May 2017

The satirical paper that raised trench morale

What would you do if you came across a printing press in the midst of the First World War? That is the question asked by this new stage adaptation of Ian Hislop and Nick Newman's darkly satirical play that comes to London's Arts Theatre, following a successful UK tour. Telling the eyebrow-raising true story of a group of enterprising British troops who decided to publish a satirical newspaper for their fellow soldiers, join the Tommies 100 years in the past as they perform the sketches and comedy prose featured that lightened the mood of the Somme's trenches in their darkest hour.

"Wipers" was actually the mispronounciation of the Belgian town of Ypres, where the troops discovered a bombed-out printing factory. Thinking quickly, they decided to turn it to their use, and publish satirical material lampooning their superiors and dire situation - something that had the generals initially tearing their hair out in exasperation. Despite delaying production during the two-month German push, they returned to printing and composing the Wipers. It is nowadays held up as the forebearer of satirical newspapers in the UK, including Private Eye, which incidentally, Hislop actually edits!

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Opening night: 21 March 2017

Closing night: 13 May 2017


Suitable for ages 12+

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