2 June - 29 July 2023

A true story about truth

In May 1926 Britain grinds to a halt, as workers down tools for The General Strike.

With the printing presses shut down, the only sources of news are the government’s The British Gazette, edited by Chancellor of the Exchequer Winston Churchill, and the independent, fledgling British Broadcasting Company, led by John Reith. What follows is a fierce battle for control of the news and who gets to define the truth.

At a time when the BBC is faced once again with the challenges of impartiality, When Winston Went To War With The Wireless is a gripping new play about the birth of a great British institution by multi award-winning stage and screen writer Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stage play, His Dark Materials for BBC One), directed by Katy Rudd (Ocean at the End of the Lane, Eureka Day).

“A tale for the ages… does an excellent job of asking big questions while providing rollicking entertainment” Metro

★★★★ “It’s gripping stuff… a riveting, resonant play about the contested arena of truth. It’s also a love letter to radio and its ability to surprise, challenge and transport you.” Financial Times

★★★★ “Utterly compelling... vivaciously directed by Katy Rudd” The Times

★★★★ “A fascinating reminder of how history repeats itself, usually as comedy” Evening Standard 

★★★★ “Katy Rudd’s production, the power of which reverberates around the Donmar Warehouse like an echo… a multitalented ensemble cast” The Independent 

★★★★ “Thorne triumphantly uses real history to create a compelling drama that is amusing, touching and revealing... Reith, mesmerically played by Stephen Campbell-Moore… Adrian Scarborough’s suave, humorous yet furious and blustering Churchill… Gwynne is glorious in each part she plays… a superb supporting cast bring multiple roles to blazing life” WhatsOnStage


Isabel Shields Kitty Archer
John Reith Stephen Campbell Moore
Archbishop of Canterbury/JCC Davidson Ravin J Ganatra
Stanley Baldwin Haydn Gwynne
Muriel Reith Mariam Haque 
Ernest Bevin + Ensemble Kevin McMonagle
Charlie Bowser / Engineer Luke Newberry
Musician / Speak of the House Seb Philpott
Arthur Pugh / Musician Elliott Rennie
Clemmie Churchill / Amelia Johnson Laura Rogers
Peter Eckersley Shubham Saraf
Winston Churchill Adrian Scarborough

Writer Jack Thorne
Director Katy Rudd
Designer Laura Hopkins
Sound Designer Ben and Max Ringham
Lighting Designer Howard Hudson
Movement Director Scott Graham
Composer Gary Yershon
Casting DirectorAnna Cooper CDG 
Video Designer and Animator Andrzej Goulding
Associate Sound Director Ellie Isherwood
Foley Consultant Tom Espiner
Resident Assistant Director Adam Karim
Assistant Set & Costume Designer Jingyi
Assistant Sound Designer Raffaela Pancucci

This production is generously supported by Charles Holloway, Season Supporter.

Additionally, we would like to thank our Production Supporters: Charles J Burdick and Mr Rajeev Philip.

Photography by Manuel Harlan