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Townsend Productions

We Are the Lions Mr. Manager - A new play by Neil Gore

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Tickets: £13.50 (£11 / £12 concs)
Venue: Henry Travers Studio
Running Time: 2h10m approx.
Age Guidance: 11+
We Are The Lions, Mr. Manager! is the remarkable story of Jayaben Desai the inspirational leader of the 1976-78 Grunwick Film Processing Factory Strike.

 was recently named amongst the women who have had the biggest impact on women’s lives over the past 70 years as part of the Radio 4 Women’s Hour Power List.

"a joyful celebration of one of the most significant disputes in the history of our entire labour movement" - Morning Star

She brought the issue of workplace exploitation and racism to the fore, challenged the perception of Asian women being inherently passive and docile, whilst having the measure of the most brutish and charmless of her managers, telling them:

"What you are running here is not a factory, it is a zoo. But in a zoo there are many types of animals. Some are monkeys who dance on your fingertips, others are lions who can bite your head off. We are the lions, Mr. Manager!”
She not only stood up for workers’ rights and against oppression with selfless dedication, but with her steadfast resolve, she turned the dispute into a national movement for human rights and dignity inspiring future generations. 

Now, Jayaben's story is being brought to life for the very first time by Townsend Theatre Productions seeking to relive the strikers' inspirational fight for freedom, equality and human dignity.

Written by Neil Gore, the play will tell the story of the Grunwick dispute through a mixture of stirring song, poetry, movement and dance, and the play will utilise Townsend Production's trademark cast of two characters playing multiple roles.

“In our work we aim to focus on the lives and contributions of inspirational and vital figures from our social history, often forgotten, who campaigned vigorously to improve the quality of life for everyone. Jayaben Desai is one such figure. She tirelessly fought on behalf of immigrant workers against exploitative employment practice; fearlessly faced all the elements of establishment authority; alerted many in the trade union movement to the issues of vulnerability of immigrant workers; and highlighted the fight to maintain basic trade union rights. Her resolve and courage should be remembered and celebrated. Also, Grunwick raised many wide-ranging questions about trade unionism, rights in the workplace and dignity at work, themes that still resonate and are relevant today.”  - Neil Gore

"a magnificent play"  ..."a masterful performance by Medhavi Patel" - Morning Star
Read the full review HERE.

"...a company making a name for delivering vivid, politically committed theatre" - The Observer on Townsend Production
Medhavi Patel will be taking on the role of Jayaben Desai in the world premiere of We Are The Lions, Mr Manager. Having recently discovered that she is a distant relative of the  iconic leader, this role proves particularly significant for Medhavi.

Medhavi's pervious stage work has seen her star in Tales of Birbal, Trident Moon and Fragile Land. She has also starred in TV shows including Doctors and Holby City.

We Are Lions, Mr Manager! is supported by Arts Council England, Unite the Union and GMB

Year: 2018
The Maltings is operated by The Maltings (Berwick) Trust Registered Charity No: 701194