The Autumn Tour of DEAR CHOCOLATE SOLDIER (in 2018) had performances at the OSO Arts Centre in Barnes, SW London. The Richmond and Twickenham Times published an article (read it here). -- 200 students at Leek's Westwood School had a fabulous time attending our performance in October. We are grateful to all those who have shared their family history and pictures with us on our Website and our Facebook pages, and we are continuing to welcome these. Get in touch through our contact page!

John Wirth has been in touch with WW1 memorabilia and photos - make sure to read his contribution


Read audience reviews

Read Mark Aspen's review

Read audience reviews received in the post

Reviews from Westwood School in Leek

Review from Sydenham School

Reviews received after St. Hugh's Oxford performance






For press tickets of upcoming performances please contact: Catherine Price , Artistic Director of Historia Theatre Company (07811 892 079)

Keith Balderson, who is the father in law of Simon Brandon, our lead actor in DEAR CHOCOLATE SOLDIER, very kindly filmed the entire recent performance of the play at St Hugh's College, Oxford.

He has done a beautiful editing job of excerpts from Act One. 

You can leave comments under the video or on our facebook page

St. Hugh's College Oxford - performance on 6 April 2019

The cast of DEAR CHOCOLATE SOLDIER looking at the armistice Tree, with the elegant College buildings behind them - see more from this event

Dear Chocolate Soldier goes Down Under

Exciting News - read more about Dominic

Dear Chocolate Soldier on video:

Historia presents - 
Dear Chocolate Soldier          

A docudrama based on the letters of Bombardier Edwin Hassall 1916-1918

by  Kate Glover

It is June 1916.  A 6 year old girl, Joan Burbridge, watches as her father wraps up a packet of chocolate for the brave soldiers at the front.   A thought strikes her:  'How will the soldier know the chocolate is from me?'  Her father obligingly writes on the packet:  ‘From Little Joan, Whiterock, Wadebridge, Cornwall’.

Six weeks letter, a green field envelope arrives, addressed to Little Joan.   Inside was a letter, the first of many,  from Bombardier Edwin Hassall, Royal Artillery, still in the midst of the fighting at the Battle of the Somme.

The story of the letters from ‘The Chocolate Soldier’ to Little Joan and her father,  from the Somme until the Armistice, is told movingly and amusingly,  by three actors, in a cabaret style performance with poetry and popular songs from the period.

read synopsis

Audience reactions

From the Family of Edwin Hassall:

We have just returned home from tonight's performance at the Foxlowe, which we have attended with several

friends and relatives. The unanimous verdict is that it was a superb creation of which you should be very

proud, with really great performances from the three of you. I was even accosted by a complete stranger as I

was leaving who was keen to tell me how much she had enjoyed it and been moved by it on many levels etc, etc.;

So very well done. I will give my cousin a report and I know they are hoping to attend a later performance.

Many thanks for doing such a good job (Great Nephew)

Well performed, moving and dramatic.  Well done!  ....  And Aunt Emma would never have worn a scarf - a hat is essential! (Great Niece). The actress playing Emma Hassall has now been equipped with a hat (ED:)

Chris Forster  (who is also a very generous donor and supporter of Historia Theatre Company) has this to say:

It was a great success and I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it.  I was deeply moved  by it.  ...   A great many families shared the same horrors.  It touched our family too.  My grandfather was in the trenches of the Great War from his 20s.  He was sent home and then  back to the Front.

© 2017/2018 Kerstin Mason for Design, Photos by Val Dimir, Content provided by Historia Theatre Company

© 2018 photos for "Dear Chocolate Soldier" where marked " *) " after description were provided by Paddy Gormley

© 2019 photos for "Dear Chocolate Soldier" from St. Hugh's Oxford performance were provided by Frederick Appleby

We sometimes use photos and other material from external sources; in these cases credits will be shown.

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performance at St Hugh's Oxford

The cast of DEAR CHOCOLATE SOLDIER in front of the Armistice Tree at S Hugh's College Oxford on 6th April. From left to right : Michael Murray, our sound engineer, Kenneth Michaels, actor and director, Kate Glover, actor and writer, Simon Brandon, lead actor who plays Edwin Hassall and our pianist Frederick Appleby.