Book by RICHARD BEAN
Music by DAVID ARNOLD
Lyrics by RICHARD THOMAS
Based on the Woolley/Karlsen/Number 9 Motion Picture
MADE IN DAGENHAM
An amateur production presented by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe)
All authorised performance materials are also supplied by MTI Europe. www.MTIShows.co.uk
|RUBEN PEREIRA DE CAIRNES
RACHEL KINGSTON DE CAIRNES
|Deputy Stage Manager
(Dressed by BCOT Students)
|Publicity Artwork Design
|Publicity Video Production
The show sets the scene of the O’Grady household. The house relies on Rita O’Grady, a busy working mother, looking after everything whilst her husband, Eddie barely struggles to remember their anniversary (“BUSY WOMAN”). Their son Graham is being caned at school and their daughter, Sharon, wants to be a doctor though Rita quickly points out women are only nurses. Eddie and Rita work at Ford’s Dagenham River Plant, a large bustling industrial site home to 5,000 men and 200 woman (“MADE IN DAGENHAM”). The men build the cars, whilst the woman work as seamstresses on the upholstery for the seats. The woman discover that they’re to be re-graded as unskilled workers, reducing their pay, and raise their objections to their union leaders Connie and Monty (“THIS IS WHAT WE WANT”). Monty is discussing their objections in the union office at the plant when Jeremy Hopkins, the factory manager enters. He pressures Monty to confuse the girls by asking them to register a formal grievance. The girls agree to register a grievance – selecting Rita to represent them (“WOSSNAME”).
Meanwhile, in Westminster, the Prime Minister Harold Wilson is being briefed on the depressing state of the economy and the high rates of industrial unrest (“ALWAYS A PROBLEM”). To tackle the problem he selects Barbara Castle, Minister for Transport, to become Secretary of State for Talking to the Unions.
Back in Dagenham it’s Friday night in the pub (“PAYDAY”) and tensions are running high as the men confront the girls about not accepting a re-grading. After a confrontation Rita storms out of the pub, as the girls remind Eddie he’s forgotten it’s their 10th wedding anniversary – sending him running after her (“I’M SORRY I LOVE YOU”).
Rita goes into school to confront Mr Buckton about his caning of her son Graham. After a patronising interaction with Mr Buckton she bumps into Lisa in the corridor and the two bond over their hatred of Mr Buckton’s caning, with Lisa suggesting they start a petition. Lisa is married to Hopkins, the manager of the plant.
As Rita starts to get more involved with union politics, Connie shares her experiences (“SAME OLD STORY”) and urges Rita to go beyond objecting to re-grading and instead asking for equal pay between genders. At a meeting between union leaders and plant management, Rita asks for equal pay – a request that’s laughed at. She returns to the plant and the girls vote unanimously for a strike (“EVERYBODY OUT”).
Ford America parachutes in their brash and arrogant executive Mr Tooley to resolve the strike (“THIS IS AMERICA”). He tells Hopkins to stop the production line and lay all the men off in an attempt to pressure the girls into going back to work (“STORM CLOUDS”). Lisa tips Rita off that they’ve offered one of the girls, Sandra, marketing work to try and crack the solidarity of the strike. Rita visits Connie who’s been hospitalised with breast cancer. Connie encourages Rita to give the speech she was going to give to the Trade Union Congress. Rita gatecrashes the launch of the Ford Mark II Cortina 1600E to confront Sandra (“CORTINA”) where she bumps into Barbara, Minister for Transport, who invites her to a meeting in Westminster. When she gets home she’s greeted by a letter from Eddie, who’s taken the kids away because of the pressure the strike has put on their relationship (“THE LETTER”). Lisa arrives to encourage Rita, and offers to lend her a Biba dress for the TUC speech.
The girls meet Barbara in Westminster (“IDEAL WORLD”) who passes on Ford’s offer of 92% of the male rate, an offer Rita refuses.
Back at the hospital, Connie has died leaving Rita a copy of the speech for the TUC conference. Eddie confronts Rita about the state of their marriage (“WE NEARLY HAD IT ALL”), eventually coming round to supporting Rita’s strike despite pressure from his male colleagues to ‘sort her out’.
The action turns to the TUC Conference (“VIVA EASTBOURNE”) where Lisa gives Rita some final words of encouragement before she gives her big speech. Mr Tooley throws a spanner in the works by tearing up the speech and confronting Rita backstage where he tells her that she’s just a little girl before stalking off. Rita’s friends arrive and give her the confidence to get out on stage and not let Connie down. Rita makes a passionate and heartfelt speech to the conference (“STAND UP”) which successfully persuades the TUC to make equal pay a core policy.
- Production Team