ROBERT TRESSELL FESTIVAL,
at the Concordia Hall, Church Road, St Leonards-on-Sea. Nearest BR station St Leonards, Warrior Square. click here for map
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Timetable for Robert Tressell Festival 2009
Saturday 4th July 2009
Doors open 10.00 for refreshments11.00 Official opening
|11.10 Brion Purdey on Hastings Writers in Tressell's time|
|12.15 Ann Kramer on Sussex Women in Tressell's day|
|14.15 Chris Baugh, Deputy General Secretary, PCS union|
|15.15 Stuart Borthwick, Liverpool John Moores University|
|Peter Sinnott, CWU, the real implications of privatising the Royal Mail|
|19.30. Production of Ragged Trousered Philanthropists play The 2009 “Return to Mugsborough” Tour|
Sunday 5th July
10.00 Doors open
|11.00 Jane Ennis, Speaker from William Morris Society|
|12.00 Film 'Give Us This Day'
13.15 Lunch followed by Tressell Walk led by Dr Trevor Hopper, Open University
|Book stall, Fairtrade stall, union and socialist stalls. Tressell exhibition.|
Ragged Trousered Philanthropists Set to Paint Author's Town Red.
“The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists”, a novel written about workmen in Hastings in the Edwardian era, is set to return to the town in July, dramatised as part of the Robert Tressell Festival.
The play of the book, performed by a company of actors specially formed for the occasion, tells the story of a group of housepainters in the economic recession which brought misery to so many at the beginning of the 20 th Century.
“It's a sign of how pertinent to today Robert Tressell's book is,” maintains Tom McLennan, writer of the adaptation. “The “Boom and Bust” economy was as much part of everyday life as it is now. And like then as now, some people suffered more than others.”
The book is also a savage satire on grasping politicians and financiers, shamelessly using their positions to pocket considerable amounts of money for themselves. Something that is not lost on Dee Daly , one of the organisers of the Robert Tressell festival, now in its 10th year.
“Tressell wrote about a Hastings that mirrored sharply the class distinctions of the time,” she points out. “Many of those stark contrasts are still with us today. Tressell wrote about the cruelty of the system that allowed so many people to live lives of crushing poverty. It was the force of the arguments he mustered in his portrayal of the working men and women in the novel that set the book apart from others of its time and led to its popularity and its becoming known as the “Worker's Bible”.”
Much of the world Tressell wrote about is still recognisable in the Hastings of today and Tressell tours regularly visit some of the places where Tressell lived and worked. The town of Hastings now acknowledges the man who wrote one of the century's most famous books and there is a display in Hastings Museum, in John's Place, dedicated to the man and his life.
The Tressell Society set up the Tressell Festival in 1999, to bring to public attention the life of this great writer. “We saw this adaptation of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists in Liverpool last year,” says Susannah Farley-Green, “ which was put on by the PCS union as part of the Union 08 celebrations. We liked it so much, we asked if it could be put on at the Tressell Festival, in the birthplace of the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.”
The play of the book “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists” can be seen at Concordia Hall, Church Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, on Saturday, 4th July at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £5 and £4 for concessions. For bookings please phone 01424 460735/07795 496162. Refreshments will also be available
The play is also touring North West Venues in the lead up to the Hastings performance. Venues include The Bury Met and Kirby Unemployed Centre.
The Robert Tressell Festival runs over the weekend of 4th and 5th July 2009
For further information please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01424 460735.
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