Rising Up – Peterloo 2019


In 1819, the concept of freedom of speech, protest and democracy were tested dramatically when armed soldiers charged at peaceful protesters. Two centuries on a newly commissioned theatre and folk music project is set to tour the UK in October 2019. It tells the personal stories of two women linked across time and through experience as they struggle to rise up and find their voice.

Rising Up combines compelling and original narrative and song, with text by acclaimed storyteller, Debs Newbold (King Lear Retold, Through The Seasons) and original songs by Sean Cooney (The Young’uns). The songs and music will be performed by Sam Carter (False Lights), Lucy Farrell (Furrow Collective) and Jim Molyneux (4Square / The Lost Words: Spell Songs). The piece also features actresses, Helen O’Hara (‘Kat’) and Joanna Holden (‘Maggie’).

Rising Up Peterloo 2019

Rising Up is a unique, creative folk music and theatre project to mark the bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre and considers the conditions that led to this incident.

The folk song tradition has for many centuries been a key device in documenting national and international events, generating awareness of social injustices and as well as the joys,  trials and tribulations of the working classes. Wherever people have felt injustice, hardship and lack of representation, they have turned to culture; and frequently song. This is as true today as it was in 1819.

Touring Venues in October 2019:
17th October – Home, Manchester Folk Festival – £18.90 / https://homemcr.org/

18th October – Colston Hall, Bristol – £16.35 / https://www.colstonhall.org/shows/rising-up-peterloo-2019/

19th October – The Music Room, Liverpool – £18/£15 (plus booking fee)https://www.liverpoolphil.com/current-events/

24th October – Cecil Sharp House, London – £15 / £10 under 26 years (plus booking fee) https://www.cecilsharphouse.org/csh-whats-on

25th October – The Sage, Gateshead – £16.40 https://sagegateshead.com/


There are many examples in the UK folk music tradition, sometimes centuries old, of reflecting the experiences of people, places and events through song. A few of the more recent examples include Ewan MacColl’s The Manchester Rambler (about the mass trespass of Kinder Scout) ; Peter Bellamy’s The Transports, the folk ballad opera about prisoner transportation; Leon Rossleson’s Palaces of Gold (about the Aberfan disaster); the English Folk Dance & Song Society’s Sweet Liberties project (marking 800 years of democratic movements) and The Young Un’s recent recording and stage show, The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff (the story of one man’s remarkable journey from begging on the streets in the North of England to fighting against fascism in the Spanish Civil War and The Cable Street Riots).

The writers

Debs Newbold is a fast-rising star of theatre and storytelling, from the Midlands but now based in London and West Yorkshire. She is an actor, director and performance storyteller working across a range of theatre forms, displaying a love of work that playfully and powerfully explores performer-audience relationships, creating engaging, thoughtful and stirring work, where she brilliantly manages a delicate balance of placing the poetic, alongside the irreverent.

Sean Cooney is best known for being one-third of the acclaimed Teesside trio, The Young ‘Uns. Stockton Folk Club’s star graduates clinched the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Best Group title two years running before spreading their wings and taking their entrancing harmonies, razor-sharp wit and powerful songs around the UK and more recently, Canada, America and Australia too. Cooney is highly regarded for an ability beyond his years to turn the spotlight on injustice, while all the time celebrating the indomitable human spirit.

Project Partners:
English Folk Dance & Song Society – https://www.efdss.org/

English Folk Expo – https://www.englishfolkexpo.com

So It Is – http://soitis.org.uk/

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