Boys Of The Empire Productions was formed in 2008 when Glenn Chandler, creator of the Taggart television series, took to the Edinburgh Festival his biting comic-book satire on the Iraq war, "Boys of the Empire" set in an English public school in the 1920s. The company also produced a highly successful revival of Patrick Wilde's groundbreaking play "What's wrong with Angry?" which also played at C venues in the same year. Both plays were directed by Patrick Wilde.
The sellout success of "Boys of the Empire" led to its transfer in December 2008 to the Kings Head in Islington where it played for an extended run.
In 2009 came "Scouts in Bondage", also at the Kings Head, a Boys Own style adventure in the style of the scouting stories of the 20s and 30s about a group of English boy scouts who enjoy dastardly adventures in a British dominated Afghanistan. It was written by Glenn Chandler and directed by Terence Barton, and three cast members from "Boys of the Empire" - Mark Farrelly, Alastair Mavor and Christopher Birks - joined the cast of Scouts.
In 2011, Glenn Chandler and composer Matt Devereaux joined together to create "Cleveland Street The Musical", a story which explored the infamous male brothel scandal in London in 1889. Telegraph messenger boys were recruited to work in a house of prostitution where the clientele were aristocratics, and which the Queen's grandson may well have visited incognito. It was a daring and unusual subject for a musical, but its non-judgemental and light-hearted tone, plus its many catchy and memorable songs, struck a chord with audiences at the Above The Stag Theatre in Victoria where for a five week run in April and May 2011 it played to packed houses. Extra Extra called it "sexually anarchic" while QX magazine described it as "the most lavish show seen at The Stag".
In 2012 came The Custard Boys at the Tabard Theatre, London. This was based on the novel by John Rae, about teenage evacuees in Norfolk during the Second World War. Broadway Baby called it "A gem", and it won the So-So-Gay Award for Best New Theatre Production 2012.
The Lamplighters, a murder mystery set in the Cumbrian hills, ran at the Tabard Theatre from 19 March - 13 April.
In May 2013, KILLERS came to the Brighton Fringe, playing in the atmospheric surroundings of the Old Police Cells museum. It later transferred to the Assembly Rooms at the Edinburgh Festival that year. This was Glenn Chandler's controversial adaptation of real letters written by notorious serial murderers Ian Brady, Dennis Nilsen and Peter Sutcliffe.
Also to the Edinburgh Festival in 2012 came SANDEL, an adaptation of the 60s novel by Angus Stewart, about a love affair at Oxford between a nineteen year old under-graduate and a choirboy. In spite of its sensitive and highly controversial subject matter, The Sunday Express gave it five stars and called it a "gem of a play". The cast comprised Ryan Penny, Tom Cawte and Calum Fleming. Sandel by Angus Stewart has been re-issued by Pilot Productions after over forty years out of print.
SANDEL was transferred to the Above The Stag Theatre in Vauxhall, London and ran from 20th May to 14th June, 2013. The London cast comprised Joseph Lindoe as David Rogers, Calum Fleming as Bruce Lang, and introduced 16 year old Ashley Cousins who played the role of choirboy Antony Sandel.