Rouse, Ye Women! - A new folk ballad about Mary Macarthur and the women chainmakers

ROUSE, YE WOMEN! - A new folk ballad about Mary Macarthur and the women chainmakers.

The folk opera will be written by Neil Gore and John Kirkpatrick and will tour the UK February - April 19. Below are the 2019 tour dates and detail about this amazing story of the women chainmakers of Cradley Heath striking to achieve a living wage for themselves and their families in 1910.


  • 'Magic'
    Peter Yates LONDONTHEATRE1
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  • 'If you get a chance, go and see this. In fact, go twice. Take friends family and random strangers.'
    Lynne Walsh Morning Star
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  • 'Tremendous piece of work'
    Owen J.Lewis Love
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  • 'It's a must-see production. '

    Allan Wilkinson Northern Sky Magazine
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  • 'Exhilarating theatrical event. A real tonic'
    Eve Luddington On: Yorkshire Magazine
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  • BBC Radio 4 'Woman's Hour'
    Jennie Murray
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  • 'I’ll be very upfront about it – I loved this play.'
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  • 'A vivid, upbeat performance celebrating a very important struggle'
    Keith McKenna- British Theatre Guide
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  • 'Overall, this is a remarkably structured and brilliantly performed production, which truly brings history to life in a unique way'
    Cara Lee (21)
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  • 'It’s a uniformly powerful & thought-provoking'
    Ron Simpson
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Screen Shot 2019 02 07 at 07.41.18


In 1910 the women chainmakers of Cradley Heath focussed the world’s attention on the plight of Britain’s low-paid women workers involved in the ‘home-working sweated industries’, hammering out chain-links in sheds in the backyards of their homes with their babies and children for 5 shillings (25p) for a 50-hour week.

Led by the charismatic union organiser and campaigner, Mary Reid Macarthur, hundreds of women laid down their tools to strike for a living wage.The success of the ten-week strike more than doubled their earnings and helped to make the principle of a national minimum wage a reality.

 Through rousing traditional songs and moving ballads, Townsend Theatre Productions reveals the horrors of sweated labour, Mary Macarthur’s stunning national campaign to expose the perpetrators of this appalling employment, the universal sympathy for the workers, the flood of donations, and the events that led to a final victory.

 ★★★★ ‘A powerful story, powerfully told.' Clare Brennan. The Observer (We Are The Lions Mr Manager)

 Guardian Readers’ favourite theatre of 2017  (We Are The Lions Mr Manager)

 ★★★★★ ‘An absolute winner.'  LondonTheatre1  (We Are The Lions Mr Manager)