The Wipers Times Tickets

Arts Theatre 6-7 Great Newport Street, London, WC2H 7JB
Important Info
The Wipers Times Child Policy

Recommended for ages 12+.
Performance Timings
Monday - 19:30
Tuesday - 19:30
Wednesday - 19:30
Thursday 14:30 19:30
Friday - 19:30
Saturday 14:30 19:30
Sunday - -
Show Info

Book The Wipers Times Tickets

The Wipers Times, by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, brings to life an incredible true story of a group of determined soldiers set on shining some light on the First World War. Following a sell-out run in 2017, The Wipers Times returns to the Arts Theatre from October 2018, with tickets available now.

In 1916, deep in the trenches of the Belgian town of Ypres, a small group of soldiers uncover an abandoned printing press. Re-built into working condition by a sergeant who was a printer before the war, the 12th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters, set about creating The Wipers Times, a paper full of poems, jokes and essays about life in the trenches. The Wipers Times dramatises the incredible story of the paper which served as inspiration for modern-day publications like Private Eye and Charlie Hebdo.

Ian Hislop is best-known for his work at the satirical magazine Private Eye, where he has been the editor since 1986. He has also been a team captain on Have I Got News For You since 1990, and is the only person to appear in every single episode.

Nick Newman has worked as a cartoonist at Private Eye since 1981, and as a comedy sketch writer, he has written for many programmes such as The Harry Enfield Show, Murder Most Horrid and The News at Bedtime.

About The Wipers Times

In a bombed out building during the First World War in the Belgian town of Ypres (mispronounced Wipers by British soldiers), two officers discover a printing press and create a newspaper for the troops.Far from being a sombre journal about life in the trenches they produced a resolutely cheerful, subversive and very funny newspaper designed to lift the spirits of the men on the frontline.Defying enemy bombardment, gas attacks and the disapproval of many of the top Brass, The Wipers Times rolled off the press for two years and was an extraordinary tribute to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming adversity. The production takes place one hundred years after the Battle of the Somme and publication of The Wipers Times.

The Wipers Times Child Policy 

Recommended for ages 12+.

Important information

Running time
2 Hours and 10 Minutes
Booking Until
Sat, 1 December 2018

The Wipers Times Cast

Kevin Brewer
Clio Davies
Sam Ducane
James Dutton
George Kemp
Chris Levens
Dan Mersh
Amar Aggoun
Joseph Reed
Emilia Williams









Lighting Designer

Sound Designer

Musical Director

Movement Director

Voice Coach

General Manager

The Wipers Times Critics & Reviews

**** “Laugh a minute” Mail on Sunday

**** “Remarkable forerunner to Private Eye” Daily Telegraph

**** “Even – perhaps especially – at its silliest, the play has a respect for its subject matter that is deadly serious and decidedly affecting” The Times

***** “Quite magnificent” Libby Purves, TheatreCat

***** “Wonderfully theatrical” WhatsonStage

The Wipers Times review – Ian Hislop salutes satirical wartime newspaper


Hislop and Nick Newman’s play explores the extraordinary real-life story of how a Punch-style publication was set up by troops during the first world war Ian Hislop and Nick Newman have already made an award-winning TV film from the story of how a satirical newspaper was produced by frontline soldiers in the first world war. Now comes the stage version and it retains its fascination, even if it feels over-extended at two and a half hours and is inevitably overshadowed by memories of Joan Littlewood’s Oh What a Lovely War.
The story is framed by the spectacle of the paper’s editor, Fred Roberts, struggling to find a job in postwar Fleet Street. The bulk of the action shows Roberts and his fellow officer Jack Pearson deciding to set up a paper while stationed at Ypres. “A bit like the Daily Mail?” says someone. “I was thinking of something rather more accurate,” replies Roberts. That feels like an anachronistic barb, since the Wipers Times was less concerned with news than with offering a Punch-like mixture of jokes, parodies, poems and cartoons that would capture the rumbling resentment of the common soldier with a cosseted high command and the facile optimism of fireside patriots.

I would have liked to hear more about a wily sergeant who seemed able to conjure up manually operated printing presses in the midst of bombardment. It would also be good to know whether opposition to the paper was confined, as here, to a single officer who saw it as an “incitement to mutiny”, or whether there was a widespread animus from the brass hats. But Hislop and Newman give us generous helpings of quotes from the original paper, ram home the point that humour is what separates civilisation from incivility and come up with much intriguing information: it’s astonishing to discover that Michelin really did set out to provide a guide to the battlefields during the war and that Lloyd George claimed that drunkenness posed a bigger threat to the troops than that of Germany or Austria.

The difficulty is striking the right balance between the epic futility of the war and its countervailing humour. Caroline Leslie’s skilfully staged production tends to alternate scenes of military attack with music-hall interludes, whereas the genius of Littlewood was to present popular song and war’s brutal statistics in the same moment. But the show makes its point about the redemptive power of laughter and the insolent bravery of its journalist heroes.

There is a touch of public-school camaraderie about the relationship between James Dutton’s Roberts and George Kemp’s Pearson that, appropriately, since RC Sherriff contributed to the Wipers Times, put me in mind of Journey’s End. Both actors are very good and there is strong support from Dan Tetsell as the ever-practical sergeant, Sam Ducane as the paper’s main antagonist and Peter Losasso as a hapless private. The show recounts an extraordinary story without escalating into powerful drama but offers a salutary message: that, even in war, blessed are the piss-takers.

By :Michael Billington

Ref Link : The Guardian
Venue Info

Arts Theatre

6-7 Great Newport Street, London, WC2H 7JB


Arts Theatre

Address: 6-7 Great Newport Street, London, WC2H 7JB
Capacity: 350

The Arts Theatre opened in April 1927 with the intention of being a performance space for unlicensed plays. As a members-only club these works could be performed whilst avoiding the theatre censorship imposed by the government. It became known as a venue for shows that were not thought to be commercially viable. The building itself is rather attractive, with a period façade containing arched windows that pre-date the actual theatre. The theatre itself was designed by P Morley Horder who managed to create an intimate theatre in the basement without allowing it to feel claustrophobic – the clever design enables the theatre to feel larger than it actually is.

Whilst a subscriber-only house, the Arts Theatre did manage to produce some excellent productions that went on to find a larger audience, the first being Young Woodley by John Van Druten which transferred to the Savoy Theatre in 1928 once the theatre censorship had been relaxed.

The 1942 takeover by Alec Clunes and John Hanau saw the theatre produce over a hundred plays in a decade and gave the theatre the nickname of ‘The National Pocket Theatre’. A 1951 fire brought this series of plays to an end, with the auditorium needing to be rebuilt.

Ronnie Barker began a 13 year association with the Arts Theatre in 1955, making his West End debut here in a production of Mourning Becomes Electra, directed by Sir Peter hall. Hall took control of the theatre from 1956 to 1959.

The Unicorn children’s theatre took over the lease of the building in 1967 and remained there until 1999, allowing straight plays to perform in the evenings whilst giving the touring children’s theatre company a permanent London home during the day. It was during this time that Tom Stoppard’s plays Dirty Linen and New-Found-Land enjoyed a four year run from 1967.

The new millennium saw new leaseholders steer the theatre in a new direction, and it is now considered an independent commercial theatre, giving productions the opportunity to perform for up to twelve weeks, whilst still hosting cabarets, showcases and stand-up comedians.


The auditorium has two levels – Stalls and Circle. It’s a very intimate space, so all patrons will feel close to the action. The Circle overhangs the Stalls from Row E.

The seating in the Circle is only lightly raked and does not offer as much legroom as those seats in the Stalls.

Facilities At Arts Theatre 

Seat plan: Arts Theatre Seat Plan
Facilities: Bar
Disabled toilets
Wheelchair accessible

Nearest tube: Leicester Square
Tube lines: Piccadilly, Northern
Location: West End
Railway station: Charing Cross
Bus numbers: (Charing Cross Road) 24, 29, 176; (Strand) 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 87, 91, 139
Night bus numbers: (Charing Cross Road) 24, 176, N5, N20, N29, N41, N279; (Strand) 6, 23, 139, N9, N15, N11, N13, N21, N26, N44, N47, N87, N89, N91, N155, N343, N551
Car park: Chinatown (3 mins)
Within congestion zone?: Yes
Directions from tube: (2mins) Take Cranbourn Street away from Leicester Square up to Great Newport Street on your left, where you can see the theatre.

The Wipers Times Photo Gallery