KS2 Music / Dance / Drama / History: World War 1 Performance Pack - 'Archie Dobson's War'


The programmes in this ‘Performance Pack’ explore World War 1 through music, dance and drama, providing an ideal means to extend your study of the topic into Expressive Arts activities. There are units of three programmes supporting each discipline, which may be used separately or together. Taken as a whole they may be combined to rehearse and perform our specially-written musical play for pupils aged 9 to 12 called Archie Dobson’s War.

The full range of resources available includes the playscript of Archie Dobson’s War, Teacher’s Notes, backing tracks of all the songs, incidental music to enhance your staging and a range of multimedia resources. The Pack enables teachers to link ongoing work in dance and music to the theme of World War 1 and also to stage a performance that will be both entertaining and thought-provoking.

Staging 'Archie Dobson's War'

‘Archie Dobson’s War’ is a play commemorating World War 1 that has been specially written for children aged 9 – 11 for performance in school.

The play combines singing, dance and a wide range of small spoken parts for both boys and girls. A performance will typically last between 45 and 90 minutes, depending on intervals and whether all the songs are included in your performance.

The audio resources provided by the BBC - including backing tracks for the songs and specially created sound effects - are a key element of the play. They are all contained in a zip file that can be downloaded here (52MB). The cues for these are clearly marked in the playscript in red (‘Audio Resource 1’ etc).


The three programmes comprise a specially-written drama that also provides the basis for the musical play Archie Dobson's War. It is intended to provide the non-specialist teacher with the inspiration for a range of drama activities.

The narrative follows Archie Dobson – who is 10 years old in 1914 – and his sister Mabel – who is a little older – through the years 1914 to 1918. They live in a fictitious town that we have called Glaveston and their cousins – the Carters – live in a near-by village called Little Burside.

Drama - Part 1
Drama - Part 2
Drama - Part 3


The three music programmes provide lots of support for class singing skills, for language and rhythm activities, as well as reflection on the history and background to World War 1 - from the serious aspects of trench warfare and the loss of life on a huge scale, to some light-hearted moments reflecting the ironic humour shown by troops at the time. There are also starting points here for the children to perform with classroom instruments and to develop original composing and creative music-making.

Music - Part 1: Listen to the fields
Music - Part 2: Stuck, stuck in the middle
Music - Part 3: Can you, can you remember?


The dance activities in the first of three programme begin by contrasting 'town' and 'country' in the summer of 1914. There are also some simple steps to learn from a contemporary dance called 'The Castle Walk' before the declaration of war takes us to the parade ground for some military drill steps.

The second programme of dance resources linking to World War 1. The movement sequences explore life in the trenches, then working in a munitions factory on the home front. Then it's back to the trenches for a sequence exploring the Christmas truce of 1914.

In the final programme the dance activities explore trench warfare with a sequence about going 'over the top'. Then the focus moves on to the Armistice and the commemoration of the War and those who died.

Dance - Part 1: Countdown to war
Dance - Part 2: Over by Christmas
Dance Part 3: Over the top!


Teachers' notes
Archie Dobson's War - The Playscript
Music cues and SFX