This month's guest blog is written by Lizzie Crarer:
2017 has had a bit of a rocky start. The events in America over the past few weeks are a challenge to the liberal values that many of us have hitherto taken for granted, raising questions about political resistance, and what this looks like in today’s world.
In this context, I have been lucky enough to spend the past 2 weeks at Trowbridge Town Hall with a group of 5 other theatre artists, exploring a story of politics, protest – and, ultimately, hope.
Rosa ‘May’ Billinghurst was a young woman at the turn of the 20th Century who grew up in London, conscious of the massive social injustice that was the legacy of the industrial revolution. Increasingly frustrated at her inability to create political change, and with a government that evaded the issue of the women’s vote, she turned to the suffragette movement. She rose quickly through the ranks of the Women’s Social and Political Union, becoming a key member of the organization. She engaged in direct action, she spoke at rallies alongside WSPU leader Emmeline Pankhurst, and she endured prison sentences and the horror of force-feeding. She was funny, ascerbic and passionate, with a loving and unusually liberal family. She was also wheelchair-user.