ARTRIX welcome a new production tomorrow (Tuesday) as part of a month of performances championing women to celebrate International Women’s Day, writes Eve Watson.

The Townsend Theatre Productions introduce Rouse, Ye Women! at 8pm.

The folk opera tells the true story of Mary Macarthur and the women chainmakers of Cradley Heath with original songs and music composed by folk musician John Kirkpatrick.

Women chainmakers in the Black Country in the 1900s started work at the forge as children and spent their lives making chains.

They had no vote, were mostly illiterate, worked a 54-hour week and had to take their children to work.

This production tells the story of hundreds of women chainmakers of Cradley Heath and their ten-week strike against their employers.

The strike was led by trade union organiser and campaigner Mary Macarthur in 1910, who won a minimum wage for the workers which doubled their incomes.

Director Louise Townsend said: “The focus of the production is not just the massive achievement of the women chainmakers in their fight for better wages, but also how Mary Macarthur and the national federation of women workers, of which she was the founding member, sought to challenge the prevailing view that women made poor trade unionists, were a threat to male employment and wages and were generally unorganisable.

“Through this production we will aim to draw parallels with the inequalities in the lives of women just over 100 years ago with modern issues of family life, low pay, the minimum wage, the gender pay gap and equality of opportunity.”

Writer, actor and musician Neil Gore said: “The story is truly inspirational because it centres on the energy and drive of Mary Macarthur,and her skills as an organiser and tactician.

“Through this production we aim to celebrate her enormous achievements and her all-too-often overlooked legacy.”

The play begins at 8pm and tickets are £12 per person or £10 for concessions.

For further information or to book tickets, visit www.artrix.co.uk or call Box Office on 01527 577330.


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