The Great War: Meaning in the Mud


When we embarked on The Great War Project, we knew that part of it would be some sort of workshop or performance based around the First World War poets, as they provide such a moving account of the war and are widely studied in schools.

There has been a massive interest in this workshop not only in the UK, but among our continental clients in Holland, Belgium, Switzrland and Sweden. Following advice from several teachers in the UK and on the continent, we have broadened the scope of the workshop so as to look not just at the war poets but at the wider and continuing cultural legacy of the First World War.


Roland & NatashaThis schools workshop looks at the way poets, dramatists, artists and novelists responded to the First World War 100 years ago, and how the legacy of that war continues even now to influence writing and other art forms like cinema.

The core of the workshop is the famous First World War poets, and the changes in style from the lyrical and conventional, like Rupert Brooke’s, to harsher and more experimental forms of writing like Wilfred Owen’s. We also look at the response of artists like CRW Nevinson and Paul Nash, the playwright Peter Whelan (The Accrington Pals) and the writer JRR Tolkein.

This workshop provides an excellent starting point for an investigation with students of how this artistic response to the war has influenced writing and art ever since, from Eliot’s The Wasteland, to plays like Waiting for Godot, novels like Catch 22, musicals like Oh What A Lovely War!, films as different as Apocalypse NowThe Lord of the RingsWarhorse and the TV comedy Blackadder.

The style of this workshop allows a degree of flexibility in its content. So if you are interested in our including or referring to any particular poems, novels, plays or films in a performance in your school we would be very interested to discuss your ideas with you. For instance a Dutch school used the workshop for an International Day, and a British school combined the workshop with a project about communication.

"The old lie: Dulce est decorum est Pro patria mori"

Audience maximum: 100


  • Holland and Belgium: 1st show €695, any other shows €595  (other Eurozone countries please enquire about prices in your country)
  • Sweden: 1st show SEK 7950, any other shows SEK 6950
  • Switzerland: 1st show CHF 895, any other shows CHF 795

Schools in the Netherlands: you can pay using the ‘Cultuurkaart’ – please contact us for details.

Schools in Sweden and Switzerland: please note the prices have gone up. This is because the cost of travelling and staying in these countries has risen enormously over the last few years. This is the first time we have increased our fees significantly for 10 years. We hope you will still feel a Big Wheel event is worth it!

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