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.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


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:

triangleSocial workers lobby Hull City Council

triangleSouth African Airways workers win wage increase after strike action

triangleThe Great Big Socialist Party Quiz 2019

triangleStudents and workers united in struggle

Steel:

triangleWales: Hundreds march to save the Orb works

triangleSave steel jobs: Demand socialist nationalisation

triangleBritish Steel threatened closure

Theatre:

triangleTheatre: On Bear Ridge - an examination of loss, set in a post-apocalyptic world

triangleEquity: reject UK Theatre's pay cut deal

Union:

triangleThe Activist Issue 82 - for retail workers

Economy:

triangleLife in the gig economy

Swansea:

triangleSwansea: Corbyn rally attracts turnout but many can't get in

Trade union:

triangleSecret police infiltration of workers' movement exposed

Socialist Party:

triangleHillingdon Socialist Party: Fighting for socialist policies after the election

Pensioners:

triangleLeeds pensioners occupy BBC to save free TV licenses

Performance:

triangleAlternative housing awards

Merthyr:

triangleSocialist newspaper sales round-up

Jobcentre:

triangleReal life on Universal Credit: "As soon as I get billed for my electric, I'm finished"

Miners:

triangleDurham Miners' Gala

Nationalisation:

triangleThe private sector will never provide broadband to every home, nationalisation will

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

4/12/19

Socialist Party

The Great Big Socialist Party Quiz 2019

27/11/19

Plymouth

Plymouth Blairites side with anti-tenant landlords

27/11/19

Minimum wage

Minimum wage debate

27/11/19

BT

The private sector will never provide broadband to every home, nationalisation will

20/11/19

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

13/11/19

Theatre

Theatre: On Bear Ridge - an examination of loss, set in a post-apocalyptic world

13/11/19

Social Media

Readers' opinion: Twitter's banning of political ads threatens workers' voice

6/11/19

Minimum wage

Minimum wage debate: what should we be demanding?

6/11/19

TV

TV: Crime and Punishment - this brutal watch is a damning indictment of cuts and capitalism

30/10/19

Letters

The Socialist inbox

30/10/19

TV

TV: The Accident - Will capitalism be exposed in upsetting, true-to-life drama?

30/10/19

Film

Film reviews: Sorry We Missed You by Ken Loach

30/10/19

Economy

Life in the gig economy

30/10/19

Councillors

Opinion: Labour Party is structured to block left councillors

24/10/19

Liverpool

Tony Mulhearn - a Eulogy

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: info@socialistparty.org.uk

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

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999