An Englishman’s Home

This was  a “rehearsed reading” – the actors speak from scripts, but it has been rehearsed in advance and they use costume and props to help you follow the plot.

Part of the front cover of a theatre programme, showing a young man sitting in an armchair, unaware of the soldiers behind him

Picture from Wyndham Theatre programme 1909

The title “An Englishman’s Home” comes from the phrase “An Englishman’s home is his castle”. Guy du Maurier’s play is about the possible invasion of England – and an Englishman’s Home – by a foreign power.

It was written in 1909, when the idea of invasion was in the air, and is part of a genre of “invasion literature”. The play caused a sensation in London when it appeared anonymously, under the name “A Patriot”, in 1909. It first played at Wyndham’s Theatre on 27 January  and went on to be a long-running success

The play stresses how unprepared Britain is for attack, and has been credited with boosting recruitment to the Territorial Army prior to 1914.

“An Englishman’s Home” is also said to have influenced a novelette by Daphne du Maurier called “The Birds”, which you may know as the film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It also inspired Mabel Stobart, a heroine of World War One and a supporter of the Suffragist movement.

There was a single performance:

Thursday 16 October

Dorset County Museum, High West Street, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1XA

7.30pm