Trade union tale will still resonate today

Neil Gore and Elizabeth Eves - We Will Be Free - Photo by Kraig Winterbottom
Neil Gore and Elizabeth Eves - We Will Be Free - Photo by Kraig Winterbottom

The extraordinary true story of how humble farm labourers united to fight wage cuts and were punished as a result is being brought to Mansfield’s Create Theatre this weekend.

We Will Be Free! is the tale of the Tolpuddle Martyrs and is being staged by Townsend Productions - the theatre company that brought The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists to Create last year.

Set in 1834, the play is about George and Betsy Loveless and how they formed a trade union during the time of an oppressive Government.

George was a Methodist minister and the leader of the six Dorset farm labourers who were tried, convicted and condemned to harsh transportation to Australia for forming the union, as they tried to fight against a succession of unfair wage cuts inflicted by the local landowner.

The inspirational story of their determination, solidarity and courage is told using Townsend Productions’ entertaining theatrical style, political cartoon, puppetry and the musical arrangements of folk singer and squeezebox player John Kirkpatrick.

The story will resonate with a modern audience, raising questions about present day political issues through the experiences of the past.

Theatre co-ordinator Adam Pownall said: “If Townsend’s production last year – The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists – is anything to go by, then the audience is set for a real treat.

“They depict historical events with great attention to detail and with a keen theatrical eye.”

Written by Neil Gore, it stars him and Elizabeth Eves as the lead characters.

We Will Be Free comes to the stage on Saturday 5th April at 7.30pm.

Tickets for the show cost £11, £9 for concessions, £5 for students and can be purchased by visiting or by calling Mansfield 413363.