Review of the final performance of “All the Fine Young Men” Octagon Theatre, Okehampton Devon

I went to see the last performance of “All the Fine Young Men” because I knew some people in the cast and wanted to support them rather than in any great expectation: I’m not a fan of musicals and I was just a little weary from the wall to wall coverage of the Great War we were given in 2014. But almost from the first moment, when the production opened with a straight to the audience reminder of how the war began, I was caught up in this clever weaving together of song, poetry and history. Once again we were reminded of the innocence of that time, which was captured in a purer way in the folk music of the period than it could have been in speach, and the way in which that innocence was shattered on the battlefields of France. There was a lovely section in which some of the actors joined us and we all became the audience for a morale-boosting old time music hall. When they had to go back to the lines afterwards it was as if we had to go with them. When the inevitable happened and some of the fine young men from Lewdown and elsewhere died in the fighting it felt like a personal loss. So well done to all the fine young (some of them) performers for putting together a memorable evening. I shall think of that final scene around the war memorial as that time of year comes around again this November.
Stephen Cook
Rector All Saints Church Okehampton

“All The Fine Young Men” Final Show in Okehampton Tonight


A musical drama commemorating the sacrifices made by the men and families in and around West Devon villages of Lifton, Lewdown and Bratton Clovelly during the First World War coming to




Mount Kelly College Tavistock
Monday 19th September 2016, Doors open 6pm for 6.30pm
Tickets available from:
Tavistock Heritage Festival Box Office 01822 616393

Octagon Theatre, Okehampton College, Okehampton
Friday 23rd September 2016, Doors open 7pm for 7.30pm
Tickets available from: Koast Store in Red Lion Yard, Okehampton call 01837 657500 or from Donalds Menswear in Fore Street, Okehampton

or buy online at Tel: 01726 879500

More details at

All The Fine Young Men…A New Production from Red Spider Company


A musical drama commemorating the sacrifices made by the men and families in and around Lifton & Lewdown in World War 1 staged at the 100 year anniversary of the Battle of the Somme

14, 15 & 16th July 2016 Lewdown Victory Hall Doors open 7.00 for 7.30 p.m.

An exhibition associated with this project will be on display in the Victory Hall on Saturday 9th July and in local libraries throughout June Tickets at £7.50 from Tel: 01726 879500 More details at

Produced by the Red Spider Company in collaboration with the Heritage Lottery Fund

ALL THE FINE YOUNG MEN – Dispatches from the Front No5


So much has been going on since mid April that we have hardly had time to look to our communications.   We now have completed the team for mid July (13-16th – PSST don’t say a word to anyone about this!) and our paymasters have ensured that we have the necessary resources to complete our preparations in good order.   Thank you Heritage Lottery Fund!


The training grounds, otherwise known as rehearsal rooms are busy and the people involved are beginning to know what will be required of them!   It is proving to be hard work, but morale is high and we are looking forward to the time not so far distant when we shall be going into action.


Research on details such as military uniforms, the realities of trench warfare, and interesting local details of the impact of the war in West Devon are all providing us with extra material for inclusion in our commemorative project.   Work with the schools is gathering momentum and we are excited about the way in which everyone is joining in and adding their contributions to what is likely to be a Summer of considerable activity.


There is still time for anyone who would like to be associated with our various projects in any way to get in touch with Red Spider and join the troops already under training.   We have a new website on which we shall be posting additional information and updates in the days and weeks ahead.   We are confident that it will prove more reliable and rapid as a means of communication than carrier pigeon would have been!


In the coming weeks we will also be giving details of other activities in which your participation would be greatly appreciated and we hope that as we near the fateful month of July, we will be supported by a growing number of patriotic citizens who would like to join us in our various activities and especially come and see our presentation of All the Fine Young Men.


May 2016




All The Fine Young Men

Dispatches from the Front: No1

At a convivial and highly enjoyable launch reception at Coombe Trenchard on Friday November 6th, Red Spider Company set out a plan of campaign for its production next July to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Battle of the Somme. Some 60 people enjoyed presentations, music, and a scene from the production. Those present now have an opportunity to step forward and volunteer for service next year. For more information and photos from the event have a look at the Red Spider Facebook page and website.

We are eager to put in place teams for special activities in the coming months. These will include direction of the play itself which has already been written but is now under review and revision. We need people with an interest in direction and preferably experience to come forward and join the production team.

We also need musicians and instrumentalists to work on the musical content of the event which will need to be woven carefully and ingeniously into the action on stage. There will be a need for instrumentalists and singers especially.

We will be organising workshops, we hope with professionals, in the New Year on staging and music. If you would like to join these fun events please let us know so that we can ensure that you receive details.

Members of a four person Sub Group of the Red Spider Committee are hard at work on a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for financial support for the project. We have had lots of advice and are confident that we can put in a bid which will be relevant and attractive. Work now in progress will culminate in an application to Heritage Lottery by the end of this month.

Frank and Mary Rolfe who have already begun work on an exhibition of First World War material to accompany the production next July would like to hear from anyone with objects or material of interest from the period.  Please get in touch with us if you would like to join Frank and Mary in putting the exhibition together, designing graphics and generally ensuring that we have a lot of original material of interest to present.

The heavy battalion of those interested in set design and building needs volunteers. The production will rely for its impact on the dramatic telling of an absorbing story, on the music and its presentation, and on elaborate and attractive costume. But we need in addition inventive ideas for staging. The principle will be to prepare versatile and easily moveable blocks of scenery which can serve multiple purposes. They need to be easily  transportable to different halls in West Devon.   This presents a challenge to those interested in scene design and construction. We would love to hear from you as soon as possible if you like the idea of getting involved.

Lighting and sound effects will demand imagination and an innovate approach. If this activity interests you, we would love to hear from you as well.

Our teams will not be complete without generalists who enjoy getting involved with music and the theatre. Even though you may not have any specialist experience or interests, do get in touch if you would like to become involved in all that we will need to do during the coming months to prepare for action next July. Please get in touch with the Production Secretary, Dee Nicholds by email or telephone: or 01566-770854

In Dispatch No 2 which will go out before Christmas we will let everyone know how we are getting on, so watch this space!

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