Ask not what your country needs of you

Lord Kitchener
Lord Kitchener
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A century on from the outbreak of the First World War what does war and conflict mean to young people today?

Find out at The Dukes from March 18-22 when the Lancaster theatre stages the bold new production ‘Your Country Needs You!(But I don’t need my country…)’.

Some of the 50 members of The Dukes Young Actors and Young Company behind this production are the same age as many soldiers who served in the Great War.

During preparations for the show, the 14 to 20-year-olds researched the war at Lancashire Infantry Museum, took part in a military drill and discovered what war is like today from a Lancaster soldier who served in Afghanistan.

These experiences have fed into the four short plays, which come together to form Your Country Needs You!

Laurence Wilson, who wrote The Unsociables and Metropolis for The Dukes, focuses his play on two young soldiers returning to Britain from Afghanistan and the different paths they take. It explores their experiences of war and the psychological impact of conflict.

The Combined Services Entertainment organisation, formerly ENSA, is at the heart of Daragh Carville’s play which follows two Lancashire cadets sent to Camp Bastion to entertain the troops.

Eddie Robson’s play takes a Monty Pythonesque look at the development of the arms race and the rules of conflict by focusing on children playing a game of war in a make believe playground.

The fourth play looks at how civilians are affected by war by drawing on testimonials from a Gaza youth project.

Your Country Needs You!(But I don’t need my country…) is very much a contemporary take on war, and follows in the tradition of the successful productions of The Unsociables and Hamlet by The Dukes Young Actors and Young Company.

Performances, which are recommended for anyone aged 14 plus, will be in The Round at The Dukes and feature live music.

Director Louie Ingham said: “We want to produce theatre that’s exciting for young people to make and exciting for people of any age to watch.

“This production explores our place in the world and is our response to the first of five years of investigating World War One and what conflict means to young people now.”

To book tickets priced £8/£6 concessions(includes £1 per ticket fee when booking online), call The Dukes Box Office on 01524 598500 or visit

There’s a post show talk-back on March 18 which is free to ticket holders.