Play heralds wartime feminist awakening

Sarah Vezmar as Beatrice Farrar and Tristan Brooke as Alan Jeffcote. Photo credit Ian Tilton.JPG
Sarah Vezmar as Beatrice Farrar and Tristan Brooke as Alan Jeffcote. Photo credit Ian Tilton.JPG

A funny and groundbreaking drama set just before the outbreak of World War One arrives at The Dukes this week.

Hindle Wakes is a famous Northern play which centres on a mill worker’s holiday fling with the mill owner’s son and the ructions it causes among their families.

Written in 1912, it was one of the first plays to have a working class woman – Fanny Hawthorn – as its central character.

It was considered to be hugely controversial when first performed, championing the role of women as they embarked on a new era of independence and reflecting on class differences.

The play, which runs at The Dukes from March 24-28, is set at the end of the Wakes weekend in the fictitious town of Hindle in Lancashire.

Mill worker Fanny Hawthorn and mill owner’s son Alan Jeffcote return home after a weekend alone together in a Llandudno hotel - kept secret from their parents, and from Alan’s fiancée Beatrice.

But when a dramatic turn of events exposes their deception they find themselves in conflict with both sets of parents.

Hindle Wakes, which will be performed in The Round, is directed by the Olivier awardwinning David Thacker who was director at The Dukes during the 80s and went on to work for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. There will be a chance to meet and question David, currently artistic director at Bolton Octagon, both before and after the show on March 24. For more information and to book, ring 01524 598500 or visit www.dukes-lancaster.org