May 13, 2009 by alunparry
Local Actors on Trail of Trade Union Hero
I just received this exciting news in about a rerun of the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists play. Read on…
6 actors from Liverpool will be travelling to Hastings to perform at a special festival celebrating the life of Robert Noonan, writer of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.
Before that, the actors will be performing their dramatic adaptation of the novel at North West venues, including the Kirby Unemployed Centre.
Noonan wrote “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists” in the early 1900s, under the pseudonym of Robert Tressell. The book became a big success, especially amongst Trade Unionists and became known as the “Workers’ Bible” because of its powerful condemnation of the way working people were treated.
“Our adaptation was first performed last year for the Unions 08 celebration in Liverpool organised by the Liverpool PCS union,” writer of the piece, Tom Mclennan, relates. “It was a great success and members of the Tressell Society who had journeyed up to see it asked us to take it down to their annual festival in Hastings.”
Noonan had worked in Hastings as a house-painter and sign-writer and it is obvious that the “Muggsborough” of the novel is based on that South Coast resort.
Mark Ward, manager of the Kirby Unemployed Centre, was only too glad to book the show before it went down South.
“Many of the same challenging circumstances that Noonan wrote about are facing people now,” Mark believes. “Rising unemployment, a housing crises, a boom and bust economy, an economy driven by ruthless, cutthroat competition – it’s all there in “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists” as well as a vision of another way of running our lives.”
Mark is particularly keen on attracting young people to the show at the centre, so that a new generation can experience the powerful message of the book.
“Don’t forget,” he concludes, “ Noonan is buried in Walton Cemetery so there’s a local Liverpool link to the personal life of the great man.”
The performance at Kirby Unemployed centre will be on Tuesday 30th June, 7.30pm. Other North West dates are:
* Mon 29th June, 7.30pm, The Casa, Hope St, Liverpool
* Wednesday 1st July, 7.30pm, The Met, Bury
* Thursday 2nd July, 7.30pm, Salford Arts Theatre
* Sat 4th July, 7.30pm, Concordia Hall, Church Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex.