Recounting the heart-warming tale of this country's unsung heroes of World War Two, Lilies on the Land, which opens at Barn Theatre tonight (Friday) pays tribute to the women of the Land Army, who toiled to feed the country while the men were away fighting the war. But most of all, it's a story about strength and character. Director Louise Wallace, who also works as a drama teacher at Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls, explains why she has chosen to tell this heroic story.

What inspired you to work on this production?

The script was given to me by our artistic director, Coral Walton, as one of the original cast members, Sarah Finch lives locally and she was keen for us to do the play. I love the storytelling style and felt we could really play with some of the text in rehearsal to create quite an original interpretation.

I love plays that are rooted in history and have always found this period fascinating. The Land Army was something I knew a little about, but I have enjoyed finding out how it was such a vital part of the war effort.

What research did you carry out for this production?

Research included watching interviews online, documentaries about WW2, reading diaries, excerpts from land girls’ stories as well as reading the resources and information available regarding the history of the Land Army. We also encouraged the company to ask their families about the war stories relevant to them. We have discovered all kinds of things - members of the resistance, near misses from bombs, wartime romances, VE celebrations - a wealth of personal memories - once again - this makes the whole process more personal and in many ways makes the stories more moving.

So, what did you find out?

Hertfordshire housed many land girls and I know some of them still meet up to share their memories. With a longer rehearsal period, it would have been lovely to go along to one of their meetings and find our more.

Did you speak any land girls directly?

One of the production managers knows an ex-land girl, who has given us several of her memories of working on the land in Hertfordshire. We have also had memories from other land girls related to audience members or Barn members. These have helped make our production a personal tribute as we know some of these women will be in the audience. We hope to meet the ladies after the show - a couple will be wearing some of their uniforms.

What makes this production of Lilies on the Land stand out?

We have tried to create a whole evening’s entertainment that captures the mood of the 1940s and celebrates the work of these fabulous women (and men) who worked so hard on the Home Front. We have explored the concept of memories and have tried to create a production that captures the passing nature of our memories.

We have two actors playing each land girl - the older woman looking back on her younger self (literally) and sometimes joining in with her memories. We have adopted a playful, storytelling approach and our stage is a beautifully created environment full of props, bits of scenery - all fragments of memories. We use all this to illustrate the stories that the Land Girls narrate. Old Pathe newsreels, songs and period costume all help drift back in time and we hope to involve the audience in our stories as well.

As a director what was important for you to highlight in this play?

I think the truth behind the stories - everything we say on stage really happened to someone - that makes you, as an actor or director - feel very different about what you are doing.

Lilies of the Land will be at Barn Theatre, Welwyn Garden City until February 20. Details: 01707 324300