Saturday 11 August 2018

kath Duncan play #Liberty to be performed as part #LGBTQhistorymonth at Deptford Heritage Festival 1-29 February 2019 Press release/Tickets

Liberty  by Ray Barron-Woolford: Press Release.

In the year when we celebrate 100 years of women’s activism, it seems only just that the world also has time to focus on and hail the lives of working-class heroes. It is regrettable that although we teach our children about our kings, queens and tyrants, we erase from history those who have fought for and won the freedoms we all enjoy today. One such woman is Kath Duncan, probably the most important Scottish and UK civil rights activist of the past 100 years. Until this book and play,LIBERTY, Duncan has beenleft in the shadows because she was raised by a single widowed mum, was poor and totally un-politically correct.   When she died in 1954, she was a Communist; a member of a party feared and loathed by the elite in 50’s Britain. However, her friends included  Clementine and Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee, who wanted her to be in the Labour government if he had won in 1945. Sadly, ill health stopped her standing as a Labour MP, although in 1931 she was the first woman to stand for parliament as a Communist candidate, in Greenwich in South East London, and indeed, one of the first women to stand for parliamentary office at all. 

Liberty, by activist, broadcaster and writer, Ray Barron Woolford who also has a biography of Kath Duncan, The Last Queen of Scotland, about to be published after 4 years research, tells the extraordinary story of Kath Duncan in 1930s Britain. Born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland on 4th July 1888, she befriended Clementine Churchill and became Winston Churchill’s agent in the Dundee by-election of 1917, securing a staggering 87% of the vote for him. This seat, without her further help, he lost just 5 years later. Duncan arrived in Hackney in 1924 to become a member of the Pankhurst’s suffragette team of women activists that founded the British Communist party and in 1926 Duncan was a key member on the General Strike Committee, insuring NO trams or buses moved. She would later be an integral member of the Communist group who lead the protest to stop Mosely’s black shirts from marching down Cable Street.

In 1930, Kath and her husband, Sandy, established a radical Household in Deptford that was recorded in  police notes as a  “ house of revolutionaries and deviants”  due to the fact the house became the first known LGBTQ centre  and was the haunt of every radical   political activist of the age.

During the 30s, Kath led protests against the rise of fascism ; utility companies ripping off the poor; gentrification; poverty ; the hunger marches ; the Spanish  Civil War; treatment of Indian workers seeking the right to establish a Union; the Indo-China War and welfare reform.

No other woman in the past 100 years has been as much involved, or so active at leadership level, across so many huge campaigns throughout her short life. Her being jailed twice, led to the ground work and establishment of The National Council Of Civil Liberties we call LIBERTY today.

#Liberty the play, from the book that has been getting rave reviews, is set to be bought to London as part of the third Deptford International Festival in February 2019,commemorating LGBTQ history month, and will be staged at the Deptford  Zion Baptist Hall in Deptford, a building Duncan probably knew well . This heritage setting takes the audience back to the period and tells the important, but little known, story of how the UK LGBTQ and Civil Rights movement was established in 1930s Britain.

The Red Blouse Theatre  Company which was founded by workers in 1930s Britain to take theatre to the streets and working clubs across the UK , as a way of informing the poor about what was going on as well as mobilising them to get active in the wider Labour movement ,has been reformed to stage this amazing production. It is hoped after the popularity of period drams and commercial success of Hamiltonand Les Miserables, Kath Duncan’s  story will follow in their footsteps .After all, many view the politics of today as being not much different from the 1930s , so the timing could not be better 

A new music score has been written with great songs: a reflective duet between Kath and Sandy, “Carry the Flag “; a tango inspired love song, “Forbidden Love “; a  gay anthem of our times between the two key homosexual characters, whose arrest led the decision for Kath to take on King , Parliament and entire legal system through the courts to win the civil rights we ALL enjoy today. In addition, the song  “ She’s Trouble “ is a barbershop style song set  within the Governor’s office in Holloway Prison, after thousands marched on the prison demanding Duncan’s release and Parliament was forced, thanks to Labour leader, George Lansbury, to debate Kath Duncan’s arrest and the civil rights movement for the first time in the House of Commons.

Libertyhas an open casting , whereby anyone who wants to be in this production can audition if they feel they have the talent to deliver the story that engages and moves the audience ,  on September 7 11am-2pm at The Zion Baptist Chapel New Cross Road Deptford  ( Next to Prince Albert Pub ) . Although a period drama, this play and production aims to be like no other and will include film, music and drama that will take its audience back to the 1930s. An immersive piece, with the audience dressed in 1930’s clothes, with no raised stage, will make those attending feel like members of the cast. However, the recreation of The Battle of Deptford Broadway makes this play NOT suitable for people under 12 years old.

Actors wanting to be part of this unique production will be cast based on how well they deliver their script, not by gender, colour, faith or physicality.

The producers will ask each actor to sing a short song that best reflects their vocal range and to read a short part of the script of the play.

All parts will be remunerated at Equity rates, and the production will include two weeks prior rehearsal in Deptford and a national cast press launch in September-October 2018 

Libertythe book and play is on sale NOW and Ray Barron- Woolford’s much anticipated biography of Kath Duncan, TheLast Queen of Scotland,is about to be published by New York based publisher Austin Macaulay  .

The producers are looking to hear from film operatives and professionals able to video this production or to live- stream the piece to audiences around the world as part of LGBT history month, Pride etc. 

Kath Duncan has a new Twitter account for people wanting to keep informed about this stage and film production and to keep up to date on issues surrounding working class women’s history :-   @KathDuncan5  and this production will be staged by @RedBlouseTheatre  and the festival twitter account is @DeptfordHeritageFestival  

Full details  and advance tickets for this sell-out  production, officially performed as a Charity Gala on Valentine’s day 14 February 2019 for a limited 2 week run,  can be purchased for £15 on the website  Gala charity night tickets are £25 each . All tickets give you free access to ALL Deptford Heritage Festival events.";

Copies of Liberty can be read on ALL formats on Amazon , Kindle etc 

Media enquiries text; 07871187162 

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