To Death and Glory

by Alex Loveless


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Trench by night in To Death and Glory - Furness Youth Theatre production,  Forum 28, Barrow-in-Furness , April 2001



To Death and Glory is an epic and moving musical set in the years 1913 - 1919. It follows the lives of a group of young people from the final days of La Belle Epoque, through the patriotic euphoria on the outbreak of the First World War, and on into the bitter disillusion which was to follow.

The storyline recounts the struggles of the suffragettes (women's rights campaigners) against the tyrannical press baron, Lord Eastcliffe, and their experiences with forced-feeding and the notorious Cat and Mouse Act.

After the outbreak of war, the suffragettes mobilise for war work, while the men march off to the front in the certainty that 'It will all be over by Christmas'.

Interleaved with momentous events on the world stage are the lives, loves, jealousies and betrayals of the characters.


Suffragettes in To Death and Glory - Furness YouthTheatre

Suffragettes in  To Death and Glory - Furness Youth Theatre production,  Forum 28, Barrow-in-Furness , April 2001



To Death and Glory - Introduction

The peace of Europe is under threat from increasing rivalries between the Great Powers.

In Britain there is growing unrest with fabulous wealth existing alongside abject poverty. Women are second class citizens who are not allowed to vote, but the suffragettes of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) are engaged in a struggle to gain their democratic rights by a campaign of arson attacks, window smashing rampages and bombs planted in government buildings.

The WSPU is a militant and highly disciplined organisation led by the indomitable Emmeline Pankhurst.

Hundreds of suffragettes are arrested and many of them go on hunger strike in jail. The government fears that if any should die they will become martyrs and attract even more supporters to their cause. After unsuccessfully trying to force-feed the prisoners, the government passes the notorious ‘Cat and Mouse Act’, allowing suffragettes close to death to be released from jail, only to be re-arrested when they have recovered.

One suffragette does become a martyr for the cause - Emily Wilding Davison brings down the King’s horse at the Derby and later dies of her injuries.

The suffragette campaign continues until the outbreak of war in August 1914, when women are no longer second class citizens to be kept confined in their kitchens, but are suddenly required to cease their activities and support the war effort.

Tom is an idealistic young man to whom social injustice, the subjugation of women and the threat of war are all consequences of the capitalist system. He is in love with Alice, a suffragette.

Their love is put to test when she obeys Mrs Pankhurst and goes to work in a munitions factory, leaving Tom, a conscientous objector, to evade conscription and preach against the war.

Meanwhile Kate, another suffragette, faces conflict between her two rival suitors - Jonathan, whose sympathy with the cause she relies on, and Antony, son of the megalomaniac anti-suffragette press baron Lord Eastcliffe.

Antony is torn between his love for Kate and his duty to his father, who is also his employer. This triangle has still not been resolved when the two men unknowingly enlist in the same regiment.

Footnote - Women (over 30) were allowed to vote for the first time in 1918. This was officially stated to be in recognition of women’s work during the war, but the more likely reason was that the government was not prepared to face a renewed onslaught from Emmiline Pankhurst and the WSPU.


Finale - To Death and Glory - Furness Youth Theatre

Victory - To Death and Glory

To Death  and Glory - Musical Numbers

- Soldiers and Kate
London In 1913 - Asquith and People of London
Streets Of Poverty - Tom
Europe In 1913 - Asquith and People of London
The Government - Lord Eastcliffe, Asquith and Cabinet
Deeds Not Words - Kate, Alice and Tom
Watcher In The Dark - Jonathan
Emily Wilding Davison - Suffragettes
I Shall Walk - Alice
Stay Out Of My Way - Jonathan and Antony
I Can’t Say Goodbye - Antony
Put Them Back In The Kitchen - Asquith, Lord Eastcliffe and Cabinet.
To Death And Glory - Kate, Alice, Tom and Suffragettes


Loving You - Alice, Tom, Kate and Jonathan
London Heading For War - People of London
The Seasons Must Keep Turning - Jonathan
Couldn’t You See Us - Women Munitions workers
It’ll All Be Over By Christmas - Jonathan, Antony and Soldiers
Why Does This World Keep On Changing? - Kate
Christmas 1914 - Jonathan and British Soldiers
Dark Was The Hour - German and British Soldiers
Time Keeps Ticking By - Kate and Alice
The Final Chapter - Antony and Jonathan
Said All Of My Goodbyes - Jonathan
When Can War Be Justified? - Tom, Alice and Kate
To Death And Glory (Reprise) - Kate, Alice, Tom and Suffragettes
Where Is My Soldier? - Kate
Epilogue - Kate

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