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Moving drama of Kipling’s grief and loss comes to Balham

Moving drama of Kipling’s grief and loss comes to Balham

| by Editor | Posted in Balham News, Balham Arts

Exactly 100 years after the end of the First World War, Balham’s award-winning theatre group, Southside, will perform ‘My Boy Jack’ by Olivier award-winner David Haig, at Chestnut Grove Theatre in Balham.

Performances will take place from Wednesday 24th to Saturday 27th October.

About the show

Rudyard Kipling, acclaimed author of ‘The Jungle Book’, pulled strings to enable his only son to join the Army at the beginning of the First World War. John (known as Jack) was very short-sighted and had already failed three medical tests to be an infantry officer. But Kipling – an ardent imperialist – was determined that John should have the chance to prove himself as a warrior in what Kipling and many others saw as a moral crusade.

When John is reported missing after the horrific Battle of Loos in 1915, Kipling and his wife Carrie begin their own crusade to discover what happened to their only son.

‘My Boy Jack’ is a deeply moving drama that traces John’s journey from the Kipling family home in Sussex to the trenches of the Western Front – where the bespectacled John has to earn the respect of ordinary soldiers in the Irish Guards.

Southside Players will stage ‘My Boy Jack’ almost exactly 100 years after the November 1918 armistice that ended what came to be known as The Great War.

From previous reviews of ‘My Boy Jack’

‘A consistently watchable and absorbing drama’ – Independent

‘Poignant story of a family, a vivid evocation of the tragedy war was for them’ – CurtainUp, Los Angeles

Rudyard Kipling and the First World War

- ‘If any question why we died/Tell them, because our fathers lied ...’ is taken from his poem ‘Common Form’. It has been interpreted as a lament for his son, or as a wider tribute to the many common ‘Jack Tars’ of the Royal Navy lost at sea.

- Rudyard Kipling wrote pamphlets and poems supporting Britain’s fight against Germany.

- In a 1915 speech Kipling declared: ‘Today, there are only two divisions in the world...human beings and Germans.’

- After the war, Kipling joined the Imperial War Graves Commission (now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission), the group responsible for the garden-like British war graves that can be found to this day along the former Western Front.

- He also selected the biblical phrase, ‘Their Name Liveth For Evermore’ (Ecclesiasticus 44.14, KJV), found on the Stones of Remembrance in larger war cemeteries

About Southside

Southside theatre group has been staging high-quality drama in the Balham area since 1987. Now more than 60 members strong, the group stages three main productions a year, along with rehearsed readings and lots of social events.

Venue information

My Boy Jack by David Haig will be performed at Chestnut Grove Theatre at Chestnut Grove Academy, Boundaries Road, Balham, London, SW12 8JZ.


Wednesday 24 October to Saturday 27 October 2018

Wednesday – Friday at 7.45pm, Saturday at 3.00pm


Tickets: £12.00, concessions (Wednesday and Saturday only) £9.00

Box office 07914 657 524 or book online at or at

For further information

You can get in touch with Southside Players by email at, visit their website and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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