Oct 13th | ‘Made in Dagenham’ at the New Wolsey Theatre

dagenham-new-web-image“A woman’s place is in the home”, so the saying goes – and even in the 1960’s it was in the traditional family roles where women “knew their place” and fulfilled their expected duties for homes and families. Although many women went to work they were not thought of as breadwinners, and it was generally assumed that the money they earned was for “pin money”- in other words money for non-essential items that were small treats for the low-paid. This, however, was often not the case, as many families depended on two pay packets each week to make ends meet.

Based on a true story, “Made in Dagenham” explores the movement that caused a significant law reform. Rita O’Grady (a fictional character) leads the 1968 Ford sewing machinists strike at the Ford Dagenham plant, where female workers walk out in protest against sexual discrimination, demanding equal pay for equal work. This strike caused a lot of public attention around the world and was seen as out of the ordinary to many because it was not in a woman’s nature to do anything else other than the traditional family roles. The strike was successful and led to the Equal Pay Act 1970.

The show at the Wolsey was originally a film which was turned into a musical, and from the outset it proved a lively, gritty and at times moving piece, with the cast of multi-skilled actor-musicians giving powerful and memorable performances.

Our party of Capel Ladies members all thoroughly enjoyed this excellent production – the only tragedy being that even today women still do not have complete equality of pay with men.

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