Lena Ashwell's Modern Troubadours - Entertaining the Troops, 1915-1919

Margaret Leask


This paper describes one aspect of actress/manager, Lena Ashwell’s, war time work, organizing Concert Parties to entertain the troops in France, Egypt and elsewhere between 1915 and 1919, based on her account in Modern Troubadours (1922) and press comment at the time. How artists were selected and the repertoire they presented are considered in the light of performance conditions and audience responses, alongside Ashwell’s aim of making the arts accessible to everyone, which she carried on in her work post war.

 Key words – Artist selection, Concert Party, Performance conditions, Repertoire, Soldiers’ response, YMCA

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Popular Entertainment Studies ISSN 1837-9303