Reviewed by TSSA's Will Boisseau
Southwark Playhouse Borough, runs until 6 May
Exclusive discount for TSSA members!
There have been times this year when my faith in our trade union movement has begun to wane, and I’ve had to question whether we’ve always lived up to our ideals of fighting for equality, fairness, and social justice for all. Strike!, a play that tells the story of the Dunnes Store strike in 1984, was an antidote to that pessimism.
Strike! centres on the story of Mary Manning, a shop assistant in a Dublin supermarket, who in July 1984 refused to sell grapefruit from South Africa following her union’s call to boycott goods from that state. Mary was fired by her mangers for refusing to sell the product, but ten of her colleagues – mostly young women - walked out in solidarity.
The walkout lasted two years and nine months and sparked a nationwide campaign of international solidarity against apartheid. The strike ended in victory when (spoiler alert) the Republic of Ireland became the first western country to ban the importation of South African agricultural goods in 1987.
The play shows the power of working-class women and men to fight for equality and social justice. In Strike! it was the solidarity and determination of ordinary workers (sometimes facing disapproval from their own union leaders) that brought about fundamental change. Leaders come and go, but the collective action, strength and solidarity of working people is permanent. As Strike! shows, ordinary trade union members don’t just improve their own workplaces and communities, we can alter the course of history.
And if this is sounding too worthy, the play was laugh-out-loud funny throughout, with a cracking 1980s soundtrack.
I’d encourage all TSSA members who get the chance to go to Southwark Playhouse to watch Strike!
We are pleased to announce a special discount offer exclusively for TSSA members.
TSSA members can book tickets for performances on Tuesday 18th to Saturday 22nd April and Monday 24th to Saturday 29th April for just £10 using the discount code STRIKE10, or for the solidarity price of £20 using discount code STRIKE20
Tickets can be booked at the Southwark Playhouse Website.
Group bookings are also encouraged, and the play would make the perfect outing for Branches, SOGs and Divisional Councils.