“What Did You Do in the War, Mum?” was the first fully funded Age Exchange show. Interviews were conducted with 60 older people in 1984-5, and these formed the basis for a verbatim theatre production written by Joyce Holliday and directed by Pam Schweitzer. This production toured the UK in 1985, with financial support from the Nuffield Foundation, the Arts Council, the Greater London Council and many other local authorities. It proved so popular that it travelled for many months playing to older people, and especially women, who then shared their own memories of their contribution to the war effort, whether in the forces, in the Land Army and Timber Corp, as auxiliary workers, as engineers, or as civilians involved in maintaining matters on the home front.
The show was revived in 1993, when it toured the UK and Europe, playing in Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Students at the University of Greenwich have recently produced and toured their own version of the show, basing their work on the interviews conducted in 1985. The book of photos and memories produced to go with the show has been popular ever since and is reproduced here for all to enjoy.