Visible Women

Beverley Knight will bring Emmeline Pankhurst to life in this unmissable suffragettes musical

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Megan Murray
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The intriguing story of suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst is coming to the stage in a modernised production that can’t be missed.

One hundred years after the first women in Britain were granted the vote, a new musical has been created to re-tell the story of the suffragette movement, with a modern twist. 

Sylvia will appear at The Old Vic from the 6-22 September 2018, to celebrate the life of Sylvia Pankhurst and her pivotal role in the campaign for women’s rights. 

As many of us will already know, Sylvia (Genesis Lynea) and her sister Christabel (Witney White) were a huge part of the women’s rights movement. They worked full-time for the Women’s Social and Political Union and contributed countless articles to the newspaper, Votes For Women, following the lead of their pioneering mother, Emmeline Pankhurst (Beverley Knight).

However, while the family is famed for its activist credentials, choreographer and director Kate Prince hopes to unpick the Pankhurst name as its traditionally known, to explore the sacrifices Sylvia made in her passion for politics that eventually led to her estrangement from her family.

The Old Vic sees the play as a vital chance to “shed new light on a remarkable story at the heart of the Suffragette movement” using dance, hip hop, soul and funk to give a unique, modern perspective. 

Emmeline Pankhurst with her daughters, Christabel and Sylvia. 

Although the production will pivot mainly around Sylvia’s life, one of her most notable relationships has to be her mother, Emmeline. Despite initially following in her footsteps, Sylvia’s path forked away from her family’s when she aligned herself with the Labour party because she wanted to support issues other than women’s rights. She was eventually expelled from the Women’s Social and Political Union, causing a tragic divide with her sister Christabel and later she broke all ties with Emmeline.

Knight has proved to be an incredible theatre performer in shows such as The Bodyguard, and now to our delight, she’ll be lending her acting and singing skills to this feminist production as one of the most influential women in history. 

The actor has taken to Twitter to express her excitement, writing: “YES! Been sitting on this news for a while… TA-DAH!!! Well chuffed about this! Come see us! xxx.”

The Old Vic says that the production will support Mayor Sadiq Khan’s #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign to celebrate the centenary of the first women winning the right to vote and tackle gender inequality in London, which is a cause we are passionately behind. 

This is a must-circle on the calendar of every feminist and a fantastic opportunity to see knock-out talent live, see more information and tickets here.

Images: Getty