Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways


Join us at Stirchley Baths on 22 April for a double bill of theatre, poetry and music to whisk you back to the days of World War II. A shortage of crews to keep the working boats going brought a new breed of boater to the canal. Young women, later nicknamed the Idle Women, who took on the challenge of managing a pair of 72’ narrow boats and 50 tons of cargo.

Come and enjoy Isobel’s War (Kate Saffin) and Idle Women and Judies (Heather Wastie), as they follow the routes worked by lesser known women including Daphne March. Before the Women’s Training Scheme formally started in 1942, there was one woman already working a single boat. Daphne March operated the Heather Bell throughout the war in the West Midlands, and our Spring 2018 tour follows the route that Daphne mostly worked (Worcester  Tipton  Cannock), sharing insights into her working life as new additions to the show.

Ticketing is through Eventbrite – link for Stirchley Baths here:

There is also a ticket hotline to reserve tickets. This number is 07465 238 063, or you can make ticket reservations through email:

You can read more about Alarum Theatre and their work on their website

Watch the video of their 2017 tour on historic narrowboat Tench: