Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/967/26324

From The Socialist newspaper, 18 October 2017

Theatre: We're Still Here

Powerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

'We're Still Here' follows the struggle of Port Talbot steel workers against closure, photo by Dimitris Legakis/National Theatre Wales

'We're Still Here' follows the struggle of Port Talbot steel workers against closure, photo by Dimitris Legakis/National Theatre Wales   (Click to enlarge)

Geoff Jones, Swansea Socialist Party

The future of Port Talbot steelworks, the last big steel-making plant in Wales, is hanging by a hair.

A year ago owners Tata Steel threatened to close the plant, destroy the only large employer in Port Talbot and throw 6,000 out of work. Their main complaint was the size of the retired workers' pension fund.

Under the threat of closure, the steel workers - but not the pensioners - were forced to vote for one of two options, either of which meant a cut in pensions. 'We're Still Here' dramatises the effect of this threat on the workers.

It is like no other play. For a start, there is no theatre with comfortable seats facing a stage. The action takes place in a huge, aircraft-hangar-sized shed, part of the old steelworks, lit only by spotlights.

The audience is ushered in, and stands around or moves while the action takes place around and among them. Some parts are played by professionals, and others by actual steelworkers themselves.

Most of the action consists of monologues.

An old ex-worker describes the first few days of unemployment - first the feeling of freedom to stay in bed in the morning, soon the gaping hole in his life. A group of workers pushing a machine through the crowd talks about the comradeship of working together.

A young ex-worker talks about trips to the jobcentre and being told to look for 'opportunities' in retail. A sort of Greek chorus speaks of the grass where the huge Ebbw Vale works once stood, and runs through the battles of Welsh workers, from the 1831 Merthyr rising to the 1984-85 miners' strike.

Finally, the audience is invited to sit around in a circular discussion mimicking a trade union branch meeting.

One worker finds it too much for him and dashes out. Another berates the union for not taking a harder line. A union official describes how hard he had fought management, even with trips to speak to the owners in Mumbai, wrecking his marriage.

The performance ends with a feeling of 'well, what's to be done?' "We're still here" - the anthem of Welsh nationalism - sounds more like a cry for help than one of defiance.

The whole experience gave a powerful picture of the feelings of steel workers. It obviously hit home with the audience, a mixture of local people - including present and former steel workers - and regular theatregoers.

Sadly there was no talk of the wider picture of the economy - or of the only permanent solution: the nationalisation of steelmaking, and the heights of the wider economy, under democratic workers' management and control.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 18 October 2017:


What we think

Tories torn - bin them now


Socialist Party news and analysis

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

Young people being strangled by debts

Tories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

Obesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

What we saw


Socialist Party workplace news

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

PCS ballots members on the pay cap

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

Unite local government sector plans strike ballot

Salford Unison condemns pay cuts


October revolution 1917

Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

October 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

October 1917 centenary pull-out and poster


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

Uprising to save the NHS!

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea


International socialist news and analysis

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Powerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future


 

Home   |   The Socialist 18 October 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Port Talbot:

triangleTata announces 1,000 job cuts - Steel unions must fight for every job!

triangleThyssenKrupp - Tata steel merger

triangleTata pension deal: 'Gun to the head' offer accepted

Workers:

triangleIsrael: Hospital ancillary workers' strike suspended

triangleIn brief: News, reports & analysis from the CWI

triangleFight Freeports to stop bonfire of workers' rights

triangleNationality and borders bill

Steel:

triangleNationalise Liberty Steel to save jobs

triangleSteel site scaffolders strike for the 'rate of the job'

triangleFight Tata Steel jobs threat - nationalise now!

Theatre:

triangleEquity 'Panto Parade' demands more support for arts workers

triangleFighting for over 250 jobs that are under threat at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Photo M Kamish

Union:

triangleYouth Fight for Jobs is officially relaunched

Economy:

triangleBiden's policies will not solve underlying US crisis

Swansea:

triangleSwansea and West Wales Socialist Party: Instability continues in the Middle East

Trade union:

triangleNew left NEC meets - Organise the fight back now

Socialist Party:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Cuba protests - what do they represent?

Pensioners:

triangleDefend the triple lock - Fight to end poverty pensions

Merthyr:

triangleSocialist newspaper sales round-up

Jobcentre:

triangleJobcentre reopening: only union struggle will put safety first

Miners:

triangleTV review: Mrs Thatcher vs the miners

Nationalisation:

triangleWhat's needed to stop more Covid outbreaks?

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

28/7/21

Review

TV Review: Stateless blames mismanagement rather than system

14/7/21

Football

England football team

14/7/21

Covid

Readers' comments

7/7/21

Socialist Party

Book: The struggle for world socialism

7/7/21

TV

TV - Statue wars: one summer in Bristol

7/7/21

Black

The story of Joe Clough - Britain's first black bus driver

7/7/21

Socialist Party

Why did I choose the Socialist Party?

30/6/21

Review

TV Review: GB News

30/6/21

US

Readers' comments

23/6/21

Review

Book review: Shuggie Bain

23/6/21

Women

Women and the criminal 'injustice' system

16/6/21

Robert Tressell

Books that inspired me: The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists

16/6/21

Capitalist

Readers' comments

15/6/21

China

Response to Observer article on China

9/6/21

Review

TV review: Mrs Thatcher vs the miners

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999