NEWS

Announcement -Medhavi Patel will be taking on the role of Jayaben Desai in the world premiere of 'We

5 Sep 2017

Townsend Theatre Productions are pleased to announce Medhavi Patel will be taking on the role of Jayaben Desai in the world premiere of We Are The Lions, Mr Manager.

The role of Jayaben Desai holds particular significance to Patel after she learned she is a distant relative of the iconic leader.

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

Interview with Medhvai Patel by Saskia Murphy (Journalist)

How does it feel, as an actor from a Gujarati background, to be playing Jayaben Desai?

It is incredibly exciting. This is the first time I'm playing a Gujarati woman, so it is a huge moment for me and a very proud moment too. My parents moved to the UK in 1979 and my mum worked in a couple of factories when they first came here, so Jayaben's story is one that resonates with me on a personal level. I remember there wasn't much security in my mum's factory jobs. She once worked in laundrette factory and I remember her coming home and vomiting and having headaches because of the fumes and the chemicals. My mum is very proud to see me bringing this story to life.

You are a distant relative of Jayaben's, can you tell us more about that?

I didn't know Jayaben directly but my family knew her, and a member of our family married Jayaben's son. But despite the family connection I didn't actually know about the Grunwick Strike when I was growing up. I couldn't believe that nobody had told me about this powerful woman who is a part of our distant family circle.

Why do you think you were never told about Jayaben?

One thing that I have noticed, as much as I love my culture and my tradition, is that Indian families don't always pass down these amazing stories. We've have all the stories about Gandhi and about powerful men, but what about the women who played a part in modern culture? We don't explore and celebrate them enough. I guess it must have been sensitive, even for Jayaben. As strong as a character that she was, often at that time women weren't loud, they would just get on with it. We were known to just do our job and that's it. The men were the breadwinners and they were the ones that fought for the family, so to have this woman who started this strike, it must have shaken everyone. It's something to be proud of but also it was probably quite difficult for her to exist within her community at the time, because no doubt there were probably people who were telling her that it wasn't a good idea, but Jayaben was ahead of her time and was determined to achieve justice. I don't know why these stories aren't passed down but I feel that they should be, so I am honoured to be retelling Jayaben's story on stage.

How does it feel, as an actor from a Gujarati background, to be playing Jayaben Desai?

It is incredibly exciting. This is the first time I'm playing a Gujarati woman, so it is a huge moment for me and a very proud moment too. My parents moved to the UK in 1979 and my mum worked in a couple of factories when they first came here, so Jayaben's story is one that resonates with me on a personal level. I remember there wasn't much security in my mum's factory jobs. She once worked in laundrette factory and I remember her coming home and vomiting and having headaches because of the fumes and the chemicals. My mum is very proud to see me bringing this story to life.

I didn't know Jayaben directly but my family knew her, and a member of our family married Jayaben's son. But despite the family connection I didn't actually know about the Grunwick Strike when I was growing up. I couldn't believe that nobody had told me about this powerful woman who is a part of our distant family circle.

One thing that I have noticed, as much as I love my culture and my tradition, is that Indian families don't always pass down these amazing stories. We've have all the stories about Gandhi and about powerful men, but what about the women who played a part in modern culture? We don't explore and celebrate them enough. I guess it must have been sensitive, even for Jayaben. As strong as a character that she was, often at that time women weren't loud, they would just get on with it. We were known to just do our job and that's it. The men were the breadwinners and they were the ones that fought for the family, so to have this woman who started this strike, it must have shaken everyone. It's something to be proud of but also it was probably quite difficult for her to exist within her community at the time, because no doubt there were probably people who were telling her that it wasn't a good idea, but Jayaben was ahead of her time and was determined to achieve justice. I don't know why these stories aren't passed down but I feel that they should be, so I am honoured to be retelling Jayaben's story on stage.

 

Medhavi

Tolpuddle Festival

14 Jul 2017 - 15 Jul 2017

Townsend Theatre Productions will perform 'Dare Devil Rides To Jarama' at the Tolpuddle Festival in the GMB tent on the GMB site at 8pm on both evenings.

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The Volunteer

10 Jun 2017

Neil reading 'The Volunteer' by Day-Lewis and leads the singing of 'The Internationale' at the unveiling of the IBMT memorial to the Oxford and Oxfordshire volunteers and activists in the Spanish Civil War.

mayday3

May Day

1 May 2017

May Day gathering and March at the Marx Memorial Library at Clerkenwell Green London.
Neil Gore singing songs to hundreds gathered before marching to Trafalgar Square
on Monday 1 May 2017.

neil gore singing