8 Aug 2009

History of the Coop came to Randwick

Several meetings this week - some already mentioned - yesterday the start of the inquiry into planning delegation - four councillors and invited officers started to set the scope of the inquiry - more of that as it progresses, but wanted to blog on the delights of the Mikron Theatre Company who came to Randwick Village Hall to perform 'Fair Trade'.

Photos: from the play in Randwick hall

Here's a it from their website: "Reaping the Dividends, the story of the co-operative movement. Reap the dividends of Mikron Theatre Company's insight into the Co-operative Movement from its roots in the early part of the 19th century when the Industrial Revolution resulted in exploitation and misery for many working people."

The Marsden-based Mikron Theatre Company have been going for more than 35 years - theatre with a big musical element and humour to explore historical and social themes in a thought-provoking way.

Fair Trade is written and directed by Mike Lucas, who formed Mikron with late wife Sarah and friend Danny Schiller. It is great to tell the extraordinary story of the Cooperative Movement - and it's beginnings in Rochdale in Toad Lane in 1844. Indeed the Co-op now has more than 750m members in 100 countries - apparently Sean Connery was a Co-op milkman before acting and there’s even a Co-op for employees in the Emperor’s palace in Japan. The Co-op carries out over 160,000 funerals a year.

The play gave a flavour of some of the wonders of the coop pioneers - and stuff like the Woodcraft Folk and Credit Unions that we have locally - but I still felt it slightly missed giving a real sense of the importance Coops could play - but that might just be me! It also missed some of the dire bits of the Coops history like 1997 - Wikipedia has a brief history of the Coop movement here - but having said that did give balance in the characters portrayed......hey I'm rambling badly and need a cup of tea...

Anyway as well as the road tour the company also has an annual tour on Britain’s waterways aboard the 1936 Grand Union Carrying Company narrowboat Tyseley - their website has more info about that and the plays. Well done to Randwick Village Hall for getting it on locally and to all the others who made it possible.

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