Chipperfield Theatre Group will be taking a trip back into the last century for their next production – The Matchgirls.
This lively musical is set in Bryant & Mays factory in Londons East End in the 1880s. It is the true story of Kate and her mates – the Cockney Girls and their fight against the appalling working conditions they suffer in a match factory.
They are helped by Annie Besant, a well-to-do lady of some influence, and writer of articles for the local paper ‘The Link. After discovering their plight, she sets about organising the first ever industrial action by female workers, in order to improve their lot. They strive to take on their employers with action that eventually made industrial history in London.
Despite their hardships, or maybe because of them, they live life to the full and will use any excuse for a good old knees up! Described as a cross between Oliver! and Half a Sixpence, The Matchgirls takes us out of the Victorian slums into a fun-filled lively musical with many toe-tapping and easy listening songs. Matchgirls and dockers tell their story, with some very hummable songs and wonderful chorus numbers. Rehearsals are in full swing and even on script-only rehearsals, (with no musical accompaniment), the cast insist on singing through the songs as they love them so much.
The musical play, which was written by Bill Owen, with music by Tony Russell, opened in Leatherhead in 1965 to a standing ovation.