The Wipers Times Tickets

Arts Theatre 6-7 Great Newport Street, London, WC2H 7JB
No Booking Fee Offer
Vaid on all price bands for Monday-Friday shows from 19 Oct-6 Nov

Book by 22 Oct 2018.
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



The Wipers Times Photo Gallery