Entertainment on the WW1 Home Front

Teachers' notes, activities and linked resources

Curriculum links:

KS2-3 Arts Award - To identify and experience a range of art forms
KS2 Art and Design – Art and design techniques; experimentation
KS2-3 English/Literacy – Reading a range of non-fiction material; persuasive writing 
KS2-3 History – Local History Study

Aims of resource:

To encourage the use of First World War archival material in Arts and Arts Award activities.

Learning objectives:

  • Knowledge of the different types of entertainment held during WW1
  • Understanding of how wartime entertainments and perceptions of the war in general changed 
  • Skills to analyse and interpret cultural artefacts and archives

Discussion ideas:

  • Why do you think the College wanted to encourage students and local men to join up?
  • What does the 1915 programme suggest about the popular view of the War?
  • Why do you think the 1916 ‘Entertainment’ focused on skills and industry?
  • What might the soldiers who attended the 1916 event have thought of it?
  • Why do you think people entertained convalescent soldiers?
  • What kinds of events are held for soldiers today?
  • How are they presented?
  • How have views of war changed?

Activity ideas:

  • KS2-3 English Literature: Analyse WW1 song lyrics:
    Look up some of the songs mentioned in the 1916 programme (images of the 1916 programme). Can you find any lyrics or performances of them online? Take a look at two wartime songs in another My Learning resource on wartime music.

    Think about:
    - What messages the lyrics put across?
    - What could the purpose of the song be?
    - Why might this song have been chosen for recovering soldiers?
    - What do you think of the song?
    - How does it make you feel?

    Write down three modern songs you would want to put on the programme and why.

  • KS2-3 Art/English/Literacy: Design a concert programme
    Create your own four-page programme for a concert to entertain modern troops. Consider the following questions as you design it:

    - How would you decorate it?
    - What message do the colours and images put across?
    - What kind of wording would you use?
    - How would you represent the War?
    - Would your programme reflect patriotic values?
    - What sort of entertainments would you include?
    - How might these differ from WW1 entertainments?
    - How would your choices be particularly suitable for soldiers?

    These programmes could be used as the basis for planning and performing a WW1 concert as a group or class.
  • KS2-3 – Local History Study:
    What else can you learn about Bradford, or your own local area, during the First World War? Visit an archive or search online newspaper archives to find out about the range of entertainments held in wartime.

View other relevant My Learning resources or scroll down for a list of links and resources on this topic.

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