Despite the gravity of this event, and maybe because of earlier festival links, the celebratory side of International Workers’ Day is longstanding and international, especially in Glasgow. The story of labour in the west of Scotland is peppered with cultural input – choirs from the Orpheus to the Eurydice, theatre from the Glasgow Workers’ Theatre to 7:84 and Wildcat, Glasgow Trades Council even once ran a film society! This is the background to the increasing range of activities now being organised in the city by a range of TU, campaigning and labour organisations.
The now hugely successful Great MayDay Cabaret, organised by Glasgow Friends of MayDay (GFoMD), celebrates its third anniversary at Oran Mor on the Mayday Monday (4) evening. This year’s headliner is celebrated Irish singer and peace activist , Tommy Sands. Also performing are poet Elvis McGonagall, actress Juliet Cadzow, comedians Bruce Morton and Susie McCabe, and singers Arthur Johnstone and Siobhan Miller. Dave Anderson comperes.
In addition, Glasgow-based film actor Gary Lewis (Billy Elliot, Gangs of New York) stars in a specially commissioned rehearsed reading of John and Willy Maley’s play – From the Calton to Catalonia – republished last year by Calton Books. This play about their father’s experiences in the International Brigades launches, appropriately enough, in the Calton, then goes on a small tour during the period including Irvine’s Harbour Arts centre (2) and Oran Mor (3).
Chris Bartter, Chair of Glasgow Friends of Mayday said “This year’s celebrations have moved up a gear. Many more organisations and people are planning events and we are delighted that we’re able to add a theatre performance to the already successful Cabaret.”
Trade Union Councils throughout Scotland continue to organise MayDay marches and rallies on the Mayday Weekend (Sat and Sun 2/3 May). Plans and speakers are still being finalised.
Love Music, Hate Racism have organised a gig in Glasgow’s Stereo on the evening of May 1 and are also showing the film, The Clash: Westway to the World on Sunday 10 May at the CCA.
Of course established venues often have relevant events – most obviously The Tron’s Mayfesto festival – an important part of which will be Rites, a powerful NToS and Scottish Refugee Council-backed piece by Cora Bissett on female genital mutilation. David MacLennan’s legacy– A Play, a Pie and a Pint- also serves up The War hasn’t Started Yet – a view from modern Russia from May 4–9.
Amongst a number of talks and discussions, the ever-interesting Morning Star Our Class, Our Culture series has an intriguing presentation by John Quinn of Glasgow School of Art – Portraying the Heroes of Red Clydeside in the STUC on 5 May.
The festival events in Glasgow take place in the weeks before and after the MayDay weekend (this year Sat 2 – Mon 4) and are organised by a wide variety of trade union, cultural and campaigning bodies.
Tickets for both The (Third) Great Mayday Cabaret (4 May) and From the Calton to Catalonia on the 3 May are available from Oran Mor (over the bar) or via their website - http://oran-mor.co.uk/whats-on/ (booking fee).
(Currently the OM website is being revamped, so tickets for the cabaret on line are available from ticketweb here - http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/great-may-day-cabaret-tickets/163277. And the OM performance of From the Calton to Catalonia, here - http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/from-the-calton-to-catalonia-tickets/167595).
The full 2015 programme is due to be published early in April. It will be available on http://may1st.org.uk as well as Oran Mor, the STUC, trade unions and other outlets.