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Mary Macarthur and the Women Chainmakers

- a folk opera by Neil Gore and John Kirkpatrick


"It’s a uniformly powerful, thought-provoking and disarmingly entertaining mix, with one foot in the picket lines and the other in the music hall or the folk club."
The Reviews Hub

"A powerful story, powerfully told"
The Observer

"I couldn’t recommend enough that you go out and see it, and I defy you not to be swept up in the moment and leave feeling inspired, empowered and ready to join a union (or a folk band)!"
Sheroes UK

In 1910 the women chainmakers of Cradley Heath focussed the world’s attention on the plight of Britain’s low-paid women workers involved in the ‘home-working sweated industries’, hammering out chain-links in sheds in the backyards of their homes with their babies and children for 5 shillings (25p) for a 50-hour week.

Led by the charismatic union organiser and campaigner, Mary Reid Macarthur, hundreds of women laid down their tools to strike for a living wage.

The success of the ten-week strike more than doubled their earnings and helped to make the principle of a national minimum wage a reality.

Through rousing traditional songs and moving ballads, Townsend Theatre Productions reveals the horrors of sweated labour, Mary Macarthur’s stunning national campaign to expose the perpetrators of this appalling employment, the universal sympathy for the workers, the flood of donations, and the events that led to a final victory.

Listen to a feature on the show on BBC Woman's Hour (starts from 8m40s)


★★★★ A powerful story, powerfully told Clare Brennan. The Observer

Guardian Readers top favourite shows 2017


Tuesday 5th March 2019 at 8pm


£10 - Over 60s & students




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