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There is a Light That Never Goes Out:

There is a Light That Never Goes Out:

There is a Light That Never Goes Out:

Scenes from the Luddite Rebellion In its latest production, the Royal Exchange has partnered with Kandinsky Theatre Company to create a show devised by the company through improvisation and ensemble work. There is a Light That Never Goes Out: Scenes from the Luddite Rebellion is based on original letters, handbills and newspaper articles from the 1800s.

The stage is stripped bare, with nothing to hide; the actors ’green room’ is in full view at the side of the stage; even the technical teams - sound, lighting, stage management, wardrobe - are in full view at stage level; an odd design that was never explained and didn’t serve any particular purpose. However, the cast of six (Amelda Brown, Nisa Cole, David Crellin, Reuben Johnson, Daniel Millar and Katie West) impressively convey a wealth of characters to tell the story of the Lancashire Luddites protest.

Through use of voice, amplified vocals, and atmospheric sound design, we are taken through a moment in Manchester’s history 200 years ago; a moment that also takes in the Royal Exchange Building of the time. The Luddites fought to save their jobs; they fought against mechanisation. But what did they ultimately achieve? Factories and mills continued to develop their machines and processes; jobs evolved; and people still worked (in ever improving conditions). The 1800s Luddite may have been a force of defiance, but, in the 21st century, a luddite is seen as more regressive than progressive.

Today, workers question zero-hour contracts; technological advances are reducing the number of jobs available; modern issues echoing those that the Luddites fought with the mill owners and government of their time. This Royal Exchange production hits home with powerful moments that question the futility of protest. Rating 4/5 Royal Exchange: July 25th – August 10th 2019 tix here

Published: 31-Jul-2019 (5513)

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