It proved a big hit in the West End but now that musical, Made In Dagenham, is coming home to Essex.
The regional premiere of Richard Bean’s militant comedy, Made In Dagenham is set to open at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, just a few miles from the town it made famous.
It is helping launch the inaugural season of the Queens Theatre’s new artistic director Douglas Rintoul.
The co-production, with New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, presents a company of 21 actor-musicians which is bolstered further by six members of the Queen’s Youth Theatre, bringing the hit back to its roots just a stone’s throw from The Ford Factory Dagenham in which it is set.
This is the largest ever cast to appear on the theatre’s stage and is led by Daniella Bowen (Dreamboats and Petticoats, Mamma Mia, Our House,) as the busy mum, loving wife and hard-working Ford factory employee, Rita O’Grady.
Set in Dagenham in 1968, Made in Dagenham tells Rita’s story who, along with her female colleagues, finds herself working long hours sewing car seats for far less money than the men.
The women have had enough. Finding a voice she never knew she had, Rita leads them on a trailblazing battle for equal pay, taking on the unions, Ford’s top brass and the Government.
As the pressure mounts, she struggles to keep up the fight and the happy home she’s worked so hard for.
Based on successful and much-loved film, Made in Dagenham is inspired by the true story of the sewing machinists’ strike at the Ford factory, which eventually led to the Equal Pay Act of 1970.
Also cast: Angela Bain, Daniel Carter-Hope, Dan de Cruz, Sophie-May Feek, Jeffrey Harmer, Callum Harrower, Joey Hickman, Anthony Hunt, Martina Isibor, Graham Kent, Claire Machin, Wendy Morgan, Jamie Noar, Loren O’Dair, Elizabeth Rowe, Sioned Saunders, Sarah Scowen, Steve Simmonds, Thomas Sutcliffe and Alex Tomkins.
Music, by David Arnold and lyrics by Richard Thomas, Made in Dagenham is directed by Douglas Rintoul
Douglas Rintoul said: “This is a real homecoming, a wonderful chance for us to relive a truly momentous piece of our area’s history at a time when the gender pay gap is once again on the political agenda.
“After its West End success, the play will now have its regional premiere in the most fitting location – a producing theatre just a few miles away from the Ford plant in which it is set.
“It’s a brilliant way to open our autumn season – with a fantastically large-scale, uplifting musical filling our stage, featuring wonderful actor-musicianship and choreography, and celebrating the achievements of local people.”
Douglas Rintoul’s debut season at The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch also includes A Month of Sundays (Sept 23 to Oct 15) and Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime (Oct 28 to Nov 19).
Made In Dagenham runs at the Queens Theatre, Hornchurch from August 26 – September 17 and September 21- October 15 at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich.