Writer scores a hit with wartime football drama

Not a Game for Girls.
Not a Game for Girls.

A drama about a women’s football team during the First World War by a Skegness playwright has been performed for the BBC.

Benjamin Peel wrote ‘Not a Game for Girls’ after learning about the story of Dick, Kerr’s Ladies Football Team.

The play tells the story of the team, from Preston, that was formed to raise money for war-time charities. Attracting huge crowds they continued to play until 1921 when Women’s Football was banned by the Football Association.

A shortened version of Ben’s play was staged in Manchester for the BBC’s World War One At Home event.

He said: “The FA banned women’s football because they were worried it was becoming too popular. The team played one game at Goodison Park in front of 53,000 and there were 10,000 fans locked outside.

“The Government was keen that women working in the munitions factories expended their energies in clean and healthy ways.”

Ben added: “Much of the play is fictionalised and it is based on the relation between two players who come from different sides of the tracks.

“One of the players, who I based my character on, Lily Parr, scored 43 goals in her first season aged 14 and smoked 30 woodbines a day.”

Ben approached organisers of BBC WWW1 at Home about his play when working as a volunteer at the Skegness event. It previously had a full rehearsal in London last year with a professional cast.

Ben, who is the son of actor Edward Peel, works at Skegness Library. He has written a six-part drama set in a library and had a short play ‘Barrow Boys’ performed as part of the SO Fringe Festival.