Keep Your Chin Up


Recently discovered letters from a war-time wife and mother to her soldier husband offer rare insights into civilian life in WW2. Dramatizing her mother’s words with sensitivity and understanding Polly Pattison relives the humour and pathos of those dark days.

Drama. Age 12+

WOTLARX (2007) was formed by David and Polly Pattison to produce social-issues based works.

£7.00 (£5.00) (£20.00F)
Mon, 5 Aug
12:30 - 1:30pm
Tue, 6 Aug
12:30 - 1:30pm
Wed, 7 Aug
12:30 - 1:30pm
Thu, 8 Aug
12:30 - 1:30pm
Fri, 9 Aug
12:30 - 1:30pm
Sat, 10 Aug
12:30 - 1:30pm
Mon, 12 Aug
2:30 - 3:30pm
Tue, 13 Aug
2:30 - 3:30pm
Wed, 14 Aug
2:30 - 3:30pm
Thu, 15 Aug
2:30 - 3:30pm
Fri, 16 Aug
2:30 - 3:30pm
Sat, 17 Aug
2:30 - 3:30pm



This is an intensely emotional and deeply thought-provoking presentation by Polly Pattison of letters her mother Ethel wrote to her father Ken during the Second World War. Polly’s parents were married just three months before Ken was sent to the West Country for training before being sent off to Africa, not to return until 1944.

You are met with a smiling photo of a lady you'd like to spend time with. As it goes dark the venue fills up with the sounds of “I'll be loving you always”, and Polly enters to tell us that tune brings her back to 1946 where a man was dancing closely with her mum, Ethel. That man was her dad, Ken, home from the war.

The way Polly read out this and what was to come, inter-spaced with more sound and images, has you moved to tears and laughter in equal measure as you get to know Polly's mum and her world through Ethel's letters and a few lines from Ken's diary. You hear how Ethel struggles through being pregnant, newly married, husband at war, just about coping with their baby, a time displaced to Pudsey from her hometown of Hull, the bombing, “the old witch” at the post office, worrying if Ken is faithful or indeed alive, at times not knowing even where in the world he is based. Waiting months for replies and then two arriving at once it's not always Ethel appreciates the content, not best pleased with the photos of her Ken with a mustache: “I don't like your 'tache – I think you look like a pansy and so does mother!”

Ethel's longing for a normal life with her husband by her side is tangible, as are the woes of all of her family and friends. People dying, others being born, widows and widowers finding reasons to carry on, the enjoyment of a new outfit, weddings, and a raffle win, worrying about the content of a telegram, fancy free young women and soldiers, some having little, and others making good money working in war supporting factories.

If you want to learn about what really went on for the ordinary folks during the second world war, and do so in good company, mixing joy and despair – this is the very show for you. It holds its own, and you, every moment of the time you spend with Polly and her mother's letters.

The book is available at the show.