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The Muddy Choir

A performance by Theatre Centre

Thursday 22 and Friday 23 January 2015 - 7.30pm

Saturday 24 January 2015 - 11.30am

Free performances for all at the DLI Museum & Art Gallery


The Muddy Choir is the story of three childhood friends - Will, Robbie and Jumbo - caught up in one of the deadliest battles of the First World War, and hoping their love of music will provide an escape.

The show takes audiences into the trenches of Ypres, introducing them to three teenage soldiers of the Durham Light Infantry. The show commemorates the heartbreak, humour, passion and desperation of those caught up in the War, and contains close-harmony versions of popular North-East folk songs of the period.

The Muddy Choir, a new show by Jesse Briton (Bound, Enduring Song), is the latest play commissioned and produced by Theatre Centre, a company with a 60-year pedigree in producing quality theatre for young audiences.

Tickets for all three performances are completely FREE. Please email us at or phone us on 03000 266290 to book your places.

Military Talks Programme 2015

Our popular talks season returns in February 2015 with monthly talks on a variety of military subjects covering the First World War, local history and 19th century conflicts. All talks are on Saturdays and begin at 2pm.

Tickets, priced £3.50 are available now from the DLI Shop or by calling us on 03000 266590.

Delville Wood, Somme 1916

Military Talks Programme 2015

Saturday 14 February, 2pm

Devil's Wood; The Battle for Delville Wood and Longueval, Somme 1916.

Sean Godfrey

'The Dawn Attack on the 14th July was the second major action of the Battle of the Somme after the disaster of the 1st July. The attack, which had the objective of capturing the Bazentin Ridge was hugely successful with the 9th Scottish Division capturing Longueval and part of Delville Wood.

However the British failed to exploit their gains and as German reinforcements arrived, there began a bloody eight week period of attrition in which the village and wood changed hands several times.

Military Talks Programme 2015

Saturday 14 March, 2pm

Life on the Frontline; Current Riflemen reflect on their recent service in Afghanistan.

This talk will bring to life the experiences of a modern Rifleman in their own words and explain the role played by the Army today.

‘Life on the Frontline’ gives a voice to the Riflemen/soldiers behind the headlines of Op Herrick, The British Army’s deployment in Afghanistan. and exploring what it means to serve in The Rifles today from a variety of perspectives. This talk has been arranged with the Rifles Collection.

Military Talks Programme 2015

Saturday 18 April, 2pm

Bede Spirit; The Story of 8th Battalion DLI and its only action at Ypres Salient in April 1915.

Harry Moses

This talk traces the story of the ‘Bede Company’, 8th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry from its inception as a Volunteer Company of the Regiment until its first and only action at the Battle of Gravenstafel Ridge, Ypres Salient in April 1915.

The Company comprised students and ex – students of the Teacher Training College of the Honourable Bede, Durham City, who went to France with the Durham Brigade of the Northumbrian Division and were quickly involved in the 2nd Battle of Ypres, when the Germans used gas for the first time.

From 1875, on joining the College it was expected that every fit student would join the Volunteer Company – later Territorials – together with, at least one member of the College staff. They undertook the usual Volunteer and Territorial training, attending an annual camp and drills, during their two year teacher training course. On the declaration of war, many of the current students (1912-1914) were joined by ex-students who rushed to join the Company. Without firing a shot in anger, these lads were in action a mere 4 days of arriving in France. It is a story of sacrifice and courage in exceptional circumstances, 100 years ago this month.

Harry Langstaff, 6th DLI

Military Talks Programme 2015

Saturday 16 May, 2pm

Witton le Wear; the Story of a County Durham village during the Great War

Anne Yuill

Life in the village of Witton le Wear 100 years ago, the local servicemen and the stories of some who made the ultimate sacrifice. It also gives an insight into what was it like for the families left behind and village life. The stories of wives, mothers and children as well as how they raised money and items needed for the troops, and also about the local Voluntary Aid Detachment hospital.

Military Talks Programme 2015

Saturday 20 June, 2pm

The War Behind the Wire: The Life, Death and Glory of British Prisoners of War, 1914-18

John Lewis-Stempel

Military Talks Programme 2015

Saturday 18 July, 2pm

The Role of the Durham Light Infantry in the Peninsular War

Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson returns to the DLI Museum for a look into the DLI's involvement in the early 19th Century conflict.

Military Talks Programme 2015

Saturday 19 September, 2pm

A Doctor’s Experience on the Western Front.

Ian McArdle

Dr. Charles Wilson, a young Medical Officer and his experiences right behind the Front Line at Ypres and the Somme.

In the Great War, Dr. Charles Wilson was a young Medical Officer on the Western Front and he has left us with a vivid description of the personalities and conditions he encountered there. He spent most of his time immediately behind the front lines in areas of great danger and saw action in Flanders, at Ypres and at the Somme, the latter being a particularly important turning point in his outlook on how men faced the ultimate test of courage. In his later career, Dr. Wilson was appointed Churchill's physician and was awarded the title of Lord Moran.

Military Talks Programme 2015

Saturday 17 October, 2pm

‘The Woman Who Didn’t Exist’

Clive and Kath Richardson

The astonishing but true story of Margaret Burns, an ordinary working class woman born in 1889, in Bowburn, County Durham. Much of her early life was spent in the Durham area and it was there she met and married a coal miner. Unfortunately her husband volunteered for Kitchener’s Army and was killed whilst serving with the Durham Light Infantry, near Arras, in 1917.

This led to a dramatic turn of events in which Margaret was forced to make some truly shocking decisions, including becoming the woman who didn’t exist. This gripping tale is guaranteed to arouse a range of emotions and will confirm the adage that truth is definitely stranger than fiction.

Heavy Tank Mk1 Female

Military Talks Programme 2015

Saturday 14 November, 2pm

The Development of Tanks During the First World War

Stuart Wheeler

The design and development of tanks during World War One and the evolution of tank tactics from September 1916 – November 1918.

Outbreak 1914! The Durham Light Infantry Goes To War

Now Open

Discover the vital role that The Durham Light Infantry played during the first crucial five months of the First World War in this remarkable commemorative exhibition. Explore how their role evolved and impacted on Britain both at home and abroad. Find out more about these historical events and how they shaped the lives of soldiers and their loved ones.

This exhibition is in partnership with the National Army Museum and is part of a four-year-long nationwide programme of commemoration which will offer a diverse range of thoughtprovoking exhibitions, permanent displays, partnerships and public events at regimental, corps and regional museums.

This exhibition will be showing until March 2015.

See a full list of events on the Durham County Council website.