Lena Ashwell: Touring Concert Parties and Arts Advocacy, 1914–1919

  • Margaret Leask


In late 1916, the well-known actress-manager, Lena Ashwell (Figure 13.1), in a widely distributed pamphlet, posed some rhetorical questions to her countrymen. The first, ‘Why More Concert Parties Must Go to the Front?’ was answered with a categorical statement of need:

the plea for more concerts comes from every Base, from every Camp, every Hospital and from armies entrenched in the firing line, because Generals, Commanding officers, Doctors and Chaplains of all denominations, say the Concert parties are accomplishing work of ‘great military value’.


Daily News Base Camp Command Officer Collection Access Firing Line 
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  1. 6.
    See Larry Collins, Theatre at War 1914–18 (Oldham: Jade Publishing, 2004).Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    Lena Ashwell, Modern Troubadours (London: Gyldendal, 1922), 6.Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    Lena Ashwell, The Stage (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1929), 189.Google Scholar
  4. 49.
    E. A. Baughan, The Stage Year Book, 1919, 4.Google Scholar
  5. 50.
    A. C. Armstrong The Stage Year Book, 1919, 33.Google Scholar
  6. 51.
    Claire Hirshfield, ‘The Actress as Social Activist: the Case of Lena Ashwell’, in Ronald Dotterer and Susan Bowers, eds., Politics, Gender and the Arts: Women, the Arts, and Society (Selinsgrove: Susquehanna University Press, 1992), 83.Google Scholar
  7. 55.
    Lena Ashwell, Myself a Player (London: Michael Joseph, 1936), 222–3.Google Scholar

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© Margaret Leask 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret Leask

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