Monday, 11 April 2016
The Red and the Green will be worn, side by side
Glasgow Friends of MayDay (GFoMD) have today announced changes for this year’s celebration of the International Workers' Festival in Glasgow. While the annual event at Oran Mor will take place again on the Monday holiday (May 2), its focus will change from a cabaret evening, to a night of drama and song.
To mark the centenary of Dublin’s Easter Rising, the title changes to the Great Mayday Rising and the first half of the evening will be the premiere of a new play produced by FairPley, about Margaret Skinnider – a Coatbridge woman who was wounded in 1916 fighting in Dublin for James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army. The play – Margaret Skinnider:Rebel Heart - will be followed by sets by folk-punk band The Wakes, and the political doyen of folk, Arthur Johnstone.
We discussed the event and agreed that it seemed appropriate to mark the centenary by raising the profile of a lesser-known link between Ireland and Scotland during the rising. Plus to ensure that our traditional musical celebration gets a good airing, both the Wakes and Arthur will ensure that ‘the red and the green will be worn side by side’ as Hamish Henderson put it!
The play is written by Cat Hepburn, from research by Maggie Chetty, who also chairs the Committee set up to highlight the links between Scotland and the Easter Rising. It stars Clare Gray, Julie Hale and Erin McCardie. Maggie Chetty said “Margaret Skinnider was a remarkable woman. A schoolteacher, a markswoman, a revolutionary, a true rebel heart, but like so many women her story is obscure. I felt this was an appropriate time to celebrate her courage and her lifelong commitment to progress.”
This year’s Mayday marches will take place on different days around Scotland, with the largest on Sunday May 1 in Glasgow - this year it will rally in the Old Fruitmarket. Others will be on Sat April 30 (Aberdeen, Dundee and Fife) and Sat May 7 (Edinburgh and Irvine).
Other events during the two weeks either side of the MayDay weekend also reflect the centenary – with a walk entitled Glasgow and the Irish revolution looking at historical sites in Glasgow connected with struggle in Ireland - this one is already full, and Brian and Martin McCardie’s one–person play, Connolly, premiering on May 6/7 in the Tron as part of its Mayfesto season.
In addition this year sees the second Radical Film Network (Un)Conference in Glasgow over the weekend of MayDay, and its associated Film Festival includes a number of union and work-related films, mostly at the STUC Centre. In particular an event Blacklisting – demonstrating the use of film by those campaigning against their blacklisting due to TU activities.
The programme, and details of Margaret Skinnider:Rebel Heart are both available via the GFoMD website. http://may1st.org.uk/