Welcome to the website of our two research projects, the first fully funded academic studies of amateur theatre in the UK.

In the Navy?

Added on by Helen Nicholson.

Hello and welcome to my first blog!

As I immerse myself in to the exciting world of amateur entertainment I hope to update you with my latest discoveries. This blog will be a chance for me to express my thoughts but I hope it will also provoke conversations and put me in touch with people across the country whose histories and heritages I may be uncovering over the next three years.

So what is my role in this project I hear you ask? I am one of two PhD candidates and I am researching naval theatricals of the 20th century. I’ll be looking at British naval songs, concert parties, amateur entertainments and the SODS Opera and how they all contribute towards a shared naval heritage. I am at the very early stages of my research but it is clear to me that amateur performances in the navy have played a vital role for many centuries in creating cohesion and camaraderie. I have already found out about some fantastic naval ceremonies. Take the ‘Crossing the Line Ceremony’; an initiation to sea life where the crew adopt the roles of King Neptune, Neptune’s court, bears and barbers! 

Although I’ll be looking at the historical development of these bizarre but brilliant naval rites, rituals and performances, I’m also keen to uncover some contemporary case studies. So, if you were or are currently in the Navy and participated in or witnessed some kind of theatrical performance during your service please get in touch. You can send me a message via the online form on this website or via twitter @amateurdrama. Please also comment below. I’d be very interested to hear your personal stories and experiences. 

Sarah Penny