Bringing workers’ history to life

Neil Gore and Elizabeth Eves in We Will Be Free presented by Townsend Productions at the Lantern Theatre, Sheffield,  15 & 16 November at 7.30pm.
Neil Gore and Elizabeth Eves in We Will Be Free presented by Townsend Productions at the Lantern Theatre, Sheffield, 15 & 16 November at 7.30pm.

Following last year’s sold-out run of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Townsend Productions is returning to the Lantern Theatre with its latest Edinburgh Fringe hit, We Will Be Free.

It again tells a story of the struggle for workers’ rights in Britain. Set in 1834 We Will Be Free follows the extraordinary true story of George and Betsy Loveless and the Tolpuddle Martyrs. He was a Methodist preacher and the leader of the six Dorsetshire farm labourers who were tried, convicted and condemned to harsh transportation by an oppressive government for having the temerity to swear a secret oath and form a union to fight against wage cuts inflicted by the local landowner.

It is told using the entertaining theatrical style developed on The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists through Andy Vine’s powerful political cartoons and animation, through puppetry and the musical arrangements by revered folk singer and squeezebox player John Kirkpatrick of the songs and rallying hymns of the Dorset labouring classes that resound down the years.

During a distinguished career John Kirkpatrick has worked with artists like Roy Bailey, John Tams, Richard Thompson, Martin Carthy and Steeleye Span and played on numerous film sound tracks, most recently the Oscar nominated Pirates - Adventures with Scientists, as well as in The Royal National Theatre Production of Lark Rise To Candleford.

Former Sheffield University student Neil Gore returns with Elizabeth Eves (who earned a Stage Award nomincation at Edinburgh) as George and Betsy. The play is directed by Louise Townsend and Sheffield’s Richard Stone

The play has had the backing of the unions ACCORD, NASUWT, UNITE, SWTUC and SW Unison

Tickets for We Will Be Free are £10 (£9 Concessions) and can be purchased at the Box Office on 0114 255 1776 or online at at http://www.lanterntheatre.org.uk