Townsend Productions have a new folk ballad by John Kirkpatrick & Neil Gore is playing at Greenwich Theatre on Tuesday19th February 19 at 7.30pm.
‘Rouse Ye Women’ tells the remarkable story of Mary Macarthur and the women chainmakers of Cradley Heath. Who led by the charismatic union campaigner Mary Macarthur managed to more than double their earnings and establish the principle of a national minimum wage.
Women chainmakers in the Black Country in the 1900s started work at the forge as children and spent their entire lives making chains. These women had no vote, were largely illiterate, worked a 54-hour week for ‘starvation wages’, and had to take their children to work.
But in the Autumn of 1910 hundreds of women chainmakers of Cradley Heath held a ten-week strike against their employers. Led by the remarkable trade union organiser and campaigner Mary Macarthur, they won a minimum wage which doubled their incomes.
More importantly, they returned to work confident in the knowledge that by sticking together in a union they could stand up to the chain masters and companies.
The strike was a prelude to the ‘Great Unrest’ of industrial action that swept Britain in 1911, and led to a landmark victory for a fair wage, changing the lives of thousands of workers, whilst proving their economic power.
‘Rouse, Ye Women!’ is a folk-song opera that tells the story of Mary Macarthur and the chainmakers, and shares the story of the lives of the workers and campaigners through rousing, heartfelt traditional song and music.
Tickets available from the Box Office Greenwich Theatre: 020 8858 7755