Workers’ struggle for Town Hall

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THE struggle of working men and women will be brought vividly to life in a theatre performance.

Hartlepool’s Town Hall Theatre is set to host an adaptation of Robert Tressell’s classic book The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists on Sunday, February 19.

Using songs of the period, comedy and characterisation to create the spirit and clarity of the political message, the play captures a year in the life of a group of painters and decorators as they renovate a three-storey town house for Mayor Sweater.

It traces their battle for survival in a complacent and stagnating Edwardian England – these workers are the “philanthropists” who throw themselves into back-breaking work for poverty wages in order to generate profit for their masters.

Organisers say the production – which coincides with the 100th anniversary of the author’s death – remains as vivid and relevant as the day it was written.

Produced by Townsend Productions and based on Stephen Lowe’s much-praised version of the novel, the show features Finetime Fontayne, who has appeared in a host of stage and television productions including All Creatures Great and Small, Cracker, Emmerdale and Coronation Street, in which he played Hilda Ogden’s lodger.

Joining him will be Neil Gore, a well-known face in the West End and at Chichester Festival Theatre.

The show starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £8, or £7 for concessions. To book call the Box Office on (01429) 890000.

The production is sponsored by the GMB, PCS, RMT, Unite, UCATT and Accord unions and the TUC.