Show’s performers take to South Shields street to act out Suffragette protest

South Shields became Suffragette City yesterday when performers getting ready for a play on the Customs House stage headed out to King Street to highlight the theme of their show.

By Lisa Nightingale
Wednesday, 06 February, 2019, 12:04

The group of Suffragettes marched down South Shields town centre waving placards and chanting.

The “protest” was aimed at promoting Abbott Dance Theatre’s Deeds Not Words which will be performed at the Customs House tomorrow.

Deeds Not Words suffragette play at the Customs House promotional protest in King Street

The show centres on the 100th anniversary of some women being given the right to vote in 1918 and features professional dancers alongside a community ensemble.

Artistic director Kristin Kelly Abbott, who was joined by her four-year-old son Jamie to promote the show, said: “We’re continuing the legacy of the 100th anniversary of some women being given the chance to vote by going on tour with the show called Deeds not Words.

“The protest in the main street is about drawing attention to the fact we’ve got a show on at the Customs House and about the importance of the themes of the show especially for women today, because we’ve come so far, yes we’ve got the vote but we still don’t have gender equality and equal pay.

“There is an opportunity with this project to educate and engage young people across the UK in the story of the suffragettes and the importance their fight holds for women all over the world in today’s society.”

Deeds Not Words suffragette play at the Customs House promotional protest in King Street. Artistic director Kristin Kelly Abbott

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Deeds Not Words was a motto adopted by Emmeline Pankhurst and the Women’s Social and Political Union. They found that over time, public speaking proved ineffective, so they resorted to physical actions to achieve their goals.

Last year the The Newcastle-based company brought Launch Day to The Customs House, bringing artist Alexander Millar’s famous ‘Gadgies’ to life on stage.

The show celebrated the north east’s industrial past and shipyard communities and was showcased to a packed out audience.

Kelly added: “Rather than simply watching a performance, Deeds Not Words will be an experience right from the start.

“The audience will experience striking and athletic choreography, an intergenerational cast comprising of professional dancers and community participants and an all-female choir.”

Deeds Not Words will be performed for one night only on Thursday, February 7, at 7.30pm.

For tickets, priced £10, contact the Customs House box office