NEWS

Sklp Samaj Cardiff

7 Apr 2018 - 7 Apr 2018

Amazing night at Skip Sumaj last weekend- Anoup said

' This was really an honour. We welcomed so many people to our Samaj to learn and pay tribute to the incredible Jayaben Desai. A Gujarati woman who altered the course of life for thousands upon thousands of people.

All she asked for was dignity, respect and equality. It seems simple enough but the battles and war that ensued seeking basic human rights was long with so much stacked against the "Strikers in Sarees". 

Gujarati people have bought so much to the U.K. this was one story we were glad to promote alongside our very own stories here in Cardiff.

Our thanks to We Are The Lions Mr Manager by Neil Gore and all our volunteers for hosting a wonderful evening'

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'Don't Miss' in The Guardian Guide

17 Feb 2018 - 17 Feb 2018

Amazing 'We Are The Lions Mr Manager'  by Neil Gore  was a 'Don't miss' in The Guardian Guide on Saturday 

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Harrogate Theatre -Younger Reviewers

9 Feb 2018

And here’s a review of ‘We Are The Lions’ by Lauren McGaun, The Grammar School at Leeds 

A roaring success at Harrogate Theatre

Based on a true story, We Are The Lions is an emotional account of an Indian woman’s struggle for justice in the workplace. Set in the intimate and cosy location of the studio theatre, this production shines a spotlight on the historic abysmal treatment of workers.

Neil Gore, who also wrote the script, plays an incompetent Mr Alden. From his animated opening performance of ‘In the Summertime’ by Mungo Jerry under suitably purple lighting, he’s a resounding success – or not. Gore’s skill to take on so many roles whilst also over seeing the whole production is outstanding and the audience are particularly amused when he states, “I’ll just change the lights then I’ll get on with the second half of the show”. Of his various stints, one of my favourites is his role as Mr John who is painfully slow to realise the hardships of working for

George Ward, but this role is of course outdone by his time as a hilarious ‘Which?’ advertiser for Kodak.

Audience participation is central to the performance. From the signing of petitions to the use of flashlights in the powerful guitar showpiece under a multicoloured lit set (John Kirkpatrick and Daniella Beattie), the spectators feel that they’re one of the workers on the picket line with Jayaben Desai (Medhavi Patel). The use of real footage further adds to the sense of collective unity in the audience and makes the show even more realistic.

The show doesn’t end happily ever after. The poignant finish, I believe, is symbolic of how the struggle for workers’ rights and more specifically women’s rights isn’t over. This topical reference is certainly prevalent in modern day issues over the gender pay gap. Despite the continuing conflicts, “the workers united will never be defeated”.

‘We Are The Lions, Mr Manager’ ran at Harrogate Theatre from February 5th to February 10th. The show is touring across other Yorkshire locations, visit townsendproductions.org for more info.

 

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Neil talks to students at The Corn Hall, Diss.

6 Feb 2018 - 6 Mar 2018
Feedback from students on Neil Gore's pre show talk & the performance.

Thanks again for such a fantastic performance - it was the first time that a few of my students had attended the theatre and they came away enthused and inspired about theatre and social justice, which is just wonderful. Neil was brilliant with the group and was very good at explaining the social and historical context before the show, they really did learn so much. A huge thank you, Neil and Medhavi for all of your hard work and I hope the rest of your tour goes well

Some wonderful feedback from some of the parents: 

Isabella really enjoyed herself on Tuesday, and although she said she didn't understand everything, she was able to give me a summary of the strike. A great opportunity for them all.

Just to let you know Malachy and Róisín really enjoyed last night’s play. They came home very enthusiastic about going to more live theatre and all fired up ready to join a union!!! Thanks for organising it.

Bethany and Naomi did enjoy the play…. They were talking about it this morning, so it has obviously made an impact!


 

 

 

 

Jessica Vincent
Arts & Heritage Outreach Assistant
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We Are The Lions Mr Manager made the Front Page of The Morning Star with it's first review!!

18 Oct 2017

We Are The Lions Mr Manger made front page news with our first review in The Morning Star click on this link to read review http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-f0a5-Rising-like-lions-to-change-labour-history#.WeXRfxNSzL8

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Announcement -Medhavi Patel will be taking on the role of Jayaben Desai in the world premiere of 'We

5 Sep 2017

Townsend Theatre Productions are pleased to announce Medhavi Patel will be taking on the role of Jayaben Desai in the world premiere of We Are The Lions, Mr Manager.

The role of Jayaben Desai holds particular significance to Patel after she learned she is a distant relative of the iconic leader.

Medhavi Patel's previous stage work has seen her star in Tales of Birbal, Trident Moon and Fragile Land, and she has starred in TV shows including Doctors and Holby City.

Interview with Medhvai Patel by Saskia Murphy (Journalist)

How does it feel, as an actor from a Gujarati background, to be playing Jayaben Desai?

It is incredibly exciting. This is the first time I'm playing a Gujarati woman, so it is a huge moment for me and a very proud moment too. My parents moved to the UK in 1979 and my mum worked in a couple of factories when they first came here, so Jayaben's story is one that resonates with me on a personal level. I remember there wasn't much security in my mum's factory jobs. She once worked in laundrette factory and I remember her coming home and vomiting and having headaches because of the fumes and the chemicals. My mum is very proud to see me bringing this story to life.

You are a distant relative of Jayaben's, can you tell us more about that?

I didn't know Jayaben directly but my family knew her, and a member of our family married Jayaben's son. But despite the family connection I didn't actually know about the Grunwick Strike when I was growing up. I couldn't believe that nobody had told me about this powerful woman who is a part of our distant family circle.

Why do you think you were never told about Jayaben?

One thing that I have noticed, as much as I love my culture and my tradition, is that Indian families don't always pass down these amazing stories. We've have all the stories about Gandhi and about powerful men, but what about the women who played a part in modern culture? We don't explore and celebrate them enough. I guess it must have been sensitive, even for Jayaben. As strong as a character that she was, often at that time women weren't loud, they would just get on with it. We were known to just do our job and that's it. The men were the breadwinners and they were the ones that fought for the family, so to have this woman who started this strike, it must have shaken everyone. It's something to be proud of but also it was probably quite difficult for her to exist within her community at the time, because no doubt there were probably people who were telling her that it wasn't a good idea, but Jayaben was ahead of her time and was determined to achieve justice. I don't know why these stories aren't passed down but I feel that they should be, so I am honoured to be retelling Jayaben's story on stage.

How does it feel, as an actor from a Gujarati background, to be playing Jayaben Desai?

It is incredibly exciting. This is the first time I'm playing a Gujarati woman, so it is a huge moment for me and a very proud moment too. My parents moved to the UK in 1979 and my mum worked in a couple of factories when they first came here, so Jayaben's story is one that resonates with me on a personal level. I remember there wasn't much security in my mum's factory jobs. She once worked in laundrette factory and I remember her coming home and vomiting and having headaches because of the fumes and the chemicals. My mum is very proud to see me bringing this story to life.

I didn't know Jayaben directly but my family knew her, and a member of our family married Jayaben's son. But despite the family connection I didn't actually know about the Grunwick Strike when I was growing up. I couldn't believe that nobody had told me about this powerful woman who is a part of our distant family circle.

One thing that I have noticed, as much as I love my culture and my tradition, is that Indian families don't always pass down these amazing stories. We've have all the stories about Gandhi and about powerful men, but what about the women who played a part in modern culture? We don't explore and celebrate them enough. I guess it must have been sensitive, even for Jayaben. As strong as a character that she was, often at that time women weren't loud, they would just get on with it. We were known to just do our job and that's it. The men were the breadwinners and they were the ones that fought for the family, so to have this woman who started this strike, it must have shaken everyone. It's something to be proud of but also it was probably quite difficult for her to exist within her community at the time, because no doubt there were probably people who were telling her that it wasn't a good idea, but Jayaben was ahead of her time and was determined to achieve justice. I don't know why these stories aren't passed down but I feel that they should be, so I am honoured to be retelling Jayaben's story on stage.

 

Medhavi

The Volunteer

10 Jun 2017

Neil reading 'The Volunteer' by Day-Lewis and leads the singing of 'The Internationale' at the unveiling of the IBMT memorial to the Oxford and Oxfordshire volunteers and activists in the Spanish Civil War.

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May Day

1 May 2017

May Day gathering and March at the Marx Memorial Library at Clerkenwell Green London.
Neil Gore singing songs to hundreds gathered before marching to Trafalgar Square
on Monday 1 May 2017.

neil gore singing