Greater Game play telling the story of Clapton Orient’s major contribution to World War One is starting at Southwark Playhouse tonight

Leyton Orient's badge outside Brisbane Road (pic: Play With A Legend).

Leyton Orient's badge outside Brisbane Road (pic: Play With A Legend). - Credit: Archant

Michael Head has wrote play based on Steve Jenkins book ‘They Took the Lead’ to help tell story of O’s players being first footballers to sign up to fight

A play called ‘The Greater Game’ telling the story of the 41 men who swapped the football pitches of east London for the battlefields of the Somme, starts tonight (Thursday) at Southwark Playhouse.

Leyton Orient, known as Clapton Orient back in December 1914, were the first team to sign up its players and staff to fight in the Great War.

A total of 41 people associated with the O’s volunteered and three of the players, Richard McFadden, William Jonas and George Scott, never returned.

But 38 did, including wounded goalkeeper Jimmy Hugall, and the Orient custodian went on to play again for the club.


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The show is based on Steve Jenkins’ book ‘They Took the Lead’ which tells the story of Clapton Orient’s contribution to World War One and was first published in 2005.

Michael Head has decided to write the play and it is being co-produced by Head, ex-O’s forward Peter Kitchen and Jenkins, who is vice-chairman of the Leyton Orient Supporters Club.

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It will run for four weeks at Southwark Playhouse, starting this evening and finishing on October 15. The running time is 130 minutes including the interval.

The price of a ticket is £20 and £16 for concessions. Tilly Vosburgh is directing the play and the cast includes a host of famous faces from recent times.

Nick Hancock is involved, alongside Charlie Clemence, remembered for his role of Bradley Branning in Eastenders, and Danny Walters, of Benidorm, plus many more.

The play is proudly sponsored by the Royal British Legion in association with the Players’ Football Association as part of the centenary commemorations of the Battle of the Somme and Sports Remembers campaign.

Visit southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show/the-greater-game for tickets.

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