“We took our students to the Cockpit Theatre to watch the wonderful production, EMMELINE. Many thanks to Theatre Lab Company as we learnt about the real struggles of the Suffragettes movement. This is just one of the ways we keep our students cultured and bring to life what we learn in the classroom.”

Some of the students said…

“It was very informative and the plot twist (where Keir died) really shocked me, I wasn’t expecting it. It was very structured and I liked how the girl was using the paper for the date.”

“I like the way everything was set up “

“I like the whole play collectively. The singing and acting was good and so was the delivery.”

“Very good! It opened my eyes to understand what they sacrificed for us. Really good actors and it made me aware of the presence of LGBT at the time.”

“Very interactive- especially the vote for women bit, where they threw it around.”

“I really liked the policeman”

“I loved the accent of Annie, sounded so real”

“Unique and interactive”

Actor Thomas Dennis created this documentary about the suffragette movement, after having worked on our TLC production. Who were the Suffragettes and who was their leader? After years of peaceful protests that never really gained any traction within Westminster, a group of very brave and dedicated women took it upon themselves to escalate the fight for Women to obtain the vote in the UK. The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) was founded by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters. Their methods of campaigning turned more and more towards militancy which gained them the name “Suffragettes”. Undeterred, they persevered with their campaign, focusing on “Deeds Not Words!” Their actions paved the way for women to successfully obtain the right to vote on equal terms with men in 1928. Working on a theatrical production called ‘Emmeline’, written by Beatrice Hyde and produced by the Theatre Lab Company, we were inspired to make this documentary. The aim of the show and our documentary is simple… to bring this incredible story to life! Our right to vote should never be taken for granted!

Why Now?

At the heart of this play is the issue of women’s equality – why is it needed and how can it be achieved? These burning questions remain as poignant and pertinent today as they were over a hundred years ago during the lifetime of the Pankhursts. In 2018, we celebrated the centenary of the Suffrage victory when the first women won the right to vote. 100 years on and women all over the world are still fighting for equal pay, equal representation in parliament, freedom from domestic violence and workplace harassment. We are now in the midst of a new movement, #ReclaimTheStreets, that has seen women take a stand against male violence in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard. The tensions that arose between the police and those who attended her vigil and the images that dominated the headlines, starkly reflect the iconic images of police brutality that the Suffragettes faced on Black Friday. The play also examines divided opinions on the use of violence in protest. This issue split the Pankhurst family and continues to divide the public on issues, such as statue vandalism on BLM protests. We are also witnessing deep divisions within society and the feminist movement itself around the issue of Trans rights, which are viewed by some to clash with women’s rights to privacy.
As well as educating young audiences, Emmeline provides a mirror on the women’s movement today. The play, together with the Learning Resources that will provided for GSCE and A Level students, will serve as a springboard for discussion on the goals and means for achieving social justice for women and all people in the 21st century.