It’s the 1930s and a young Joan Littlewood has walked out of RADA and stomped her way North, searching for the revolution. She reaches Manchester and finds kindred spirits, an industrial solidarity, and a determination to hear the voices of dissent – at the Rusholme Rep!
There she embarks on a production with Ernst Toller, German anarchist and ex political prisoner. His play Draw The Fires tells of the story of the Kiel Uprising that brought the First World War to its knees. But Joan doesn’t like the play, it’s all too male, where are the women she demands to know?!
As Joan’s rows with Toller shake the building, so from the factories of northern England to the mills of northern Germany, the voices of the women rise up from the depths. Together, they issue a revolutionary call that renounces militarism and brings the madness of war to an end.
In this imagined piece, Bent Architect expertly weave newly unearthed verbatim histories of the women of Kiel with the radical force of Littlewood in her early Manchester years, to hear those voices resound afresh, to reveal a new, hitherto barely considered truth about a war which engulfed the world, which was brought to an end when ordinary people rejected conflict in favour of peace.
Women of Aktion heads to the York Theatre Royal Studio on October 23rd.