Leeds-based Theatre Company Red Ladder return to City Varieties Music Hall later this month presenting a double bill of drama and music.
Songs of Solidarity, Suffrage & Strength begins with Red Ladder’s brand new production, Wrong ‘Un. It’s February 1918, and after several decades of protest and four years of bloody war Parliament is poised to grant what the suffragettes have demanded and fought for – votes for all women. After years of direct action, arrest, imprisonment and force-feeding, it seems their time has come.
Written by ex-Chumbawamba guitarist and writer Boff Whalley the one-woman musical tells the adventures of Annie Wilde, a Lancashire mill-girl galvanised by a rousing mixture of injustice, conviction, self-doubt and fear on her journey from schoolroom to prison cell and beyond in a musical drama that draws on class, privilege, hope and disappointment in wartime England.
“I was prompted to write the musical after hearing from a friend who had discovered her grandmother’s 100-year-old collection of suffragette memorabilia, letters, photograph albums and newspaper cuttings”, says Boff.
“Amongst the finds was her grandmother’s suffragette medal, awarded to those women who were imprisoned and force-fed in Holloway Gaol for taking direct action. Suddenly, something distantly historic became personal and human; and I knew that I had a play to write.”
Boff makes an appearance on stage as Master of Ceremonies for the evening and welcomes folk duo O’Hooley & Tidow. Best Duo Finalists at The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2013, O’Hooley & Tidow are Belinda and Heidi. They write and perform unusual and thought-provoking songs of wry social observation, love, loss, darkness and humour.
Songs of Solidarity, Suffrage & Strength is at City Varieties Music Hall on Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th January Tickets are £12. Book online at cityvarieties.co.uk or call Box Office on 0113 243 08 08.