Actors Shaun Evans and Maxine Peake perform Liverpool’s Penny Readings to sold-out audience

The traditional event was held at St. George’s Hall on Sunday

City of Readers members with Maxine Peake and Shaun Evans and Whitefield Primary staff

Actors Shaun Evans and Maxine Peake performed the annual Penny Readings to a sold-out audience today.

The traditional event, which dates back to the Victorian times when Charles Dickens once performed the readings, was held in St George’s Hall .

Special readings, music and entertainment were put on at the event, all for the price of a penny.

City of Readers members with Maxine Peake and Whitefield Primary staff

City of Readers members with Maxine Peake and Whitefield Primary staff

Liverpool-born actor Shaun Evans , from ITV drama Endeavour, performed the penny readings with actress Maxine Peake, known for her roles in The Theory of Everything, Shameless and Dinnerladies.

The penny readings take place every year and have become a much loved feature of Liverpool’s festival calendar.

Previous readers include ECHO editor Alastair Machray, TV presenter Loyd Grossman and Roger Phillips, BBC Radio Merseyside broadcaster.

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Maxine Peake and Shaun Evans to take the stage as star readers for the Penny Readings 2015

Maxine Peake and Shaun Evans to take the stage as star readers for the Penny Readings 2015

The Penny Readings 2015
Sunday 13th December, 6.30pm
St George’s Hall (Concert Room), Liverpool L1 1JJ

The Reader’s annual festive extravaganza the Penny Readings returns to St George’s Hall this December. Now in its twelfth year, the ever-popular event promises reading alongside music and entertainment in abundance with a programme that will start your Christmas season in style.

Actress Maxine Peake (Silk, The Village, The Theory of Everything, Shameless, Dinnerladies) will take to the stage as star reader for the Penny Readings 2015, alongside Liverpool-born actor Shaun Evans (Endeavour, Whitechapel, The Scandalous Lady W).

Due to high demand, general sale tickets are now SOLD OUT.

Shared reading group members and The Reader volunteers will receive confirmation of their priority reserved tickets during the week commencing Monday 23rd November.

Please be aware, there are no afternoon Ha’penny Readings taking place this year. Children and young people can attend the Penny Readings with an ordered ticket.

With thanks to Publiship for supporting the Penny Readings 2015.
– See more at: http://www.thereader.org.uk/events/the-penny-readings-2015.aspx#sthash.BNouRCv0.dpuf

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Campaigner Betty Tebbs, 97, who fought for equal pay at the East Lancs Paper Mill, honoured by Maxine Peake

STAR of stage and screen Maxine Peake was among those celebrating a lifelong campaigner’s achievements at a special “This is your Life” style evening.

Inspirational Betty Tebbs found herself centre stage at Bolton Socialist Club being applauded by the acclaimed actor, family, friends and those who have heard about her remarkable achievements and the work she continues to do at the age of 97 to make a difference.

Mrs Tebbs, a seasoned peace and women’s right campaigner, said: “It was absolutely wonderful .

“Maxine read out passages from my book and the place was packed.

“I have been around a lot and this was something different.”

Mrs Tebbs, who lives in Prestwich, spent 18 years at the East Lancs Paper Mill in Radcliffe, where she stood outside every day for two weeks asking for a job and where the female workers became the highest paid women in the British paper industry, after she questioned why men were getting paid more for work of the same value.

Mrs Tebbs, who lost her husband in the Second World War, became a peace campaigner after seeing newspaper reports of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, campaigning through the Ban the Bomb movement and CND.

After moving to Warrington, she set up a refuge for victims of domestic violence and worked with abused women there for many years.

As Chair of the National Assembly for Women she attended many international conferences to advance women’s rights and to promote peace.

In 1986 at the height of the Cold War she spoke to 10,000 people in the Lenin Stadium in Moscow and met both the USSR and USA nuclear non-proliferation negotiating teams in Geneva.

In 2007, approaching her 90th birthday, she was taken into police custody when taking part in demonstrations against Trident at the Faslane submarine base.

More recently, Mrs Tebbs joined the anti-austerity march at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester earlier this month, as the government pledges another £100 million to a replacement for Trident and promotes nuclear annihilation as a reasonable defence strategy.

Only last week, the remarkable woman was inspiring those at the GMB Women’s Conference in Liverpool with her speeches.

She has been friends with Maxine Peake ever since her work brought her in contact with the actor at a CND event two years ago.

Mrs Tebbs said: “I was at the Peterloo Memorial March and Maxine sent over young women to talk to me.”

She added: “I feel what is the point of life if you do not do something useful with it?

“I am very lucky, I have a good family, I am to live the way I do because of the care of my daughter, and other members of my family and friends I have made in the peace movement and the other groups.

“That is a big reward, I am very lucky.”

Photos from the event can be found here.

Stage and screen star Maxine Peake to honour peace campaigner Betty Tebbs at special event

STAR of stage and screen Maxine Peake will be among those honouring a seasoned peace and women’s rights campaigner at a special event.

Bolton Socialist Club will be hosting a special ‘This is Your Life’ style event for lifelong peace activist, trade unionist and women’s rights campaigner Betty Tebbs, who lives in Prestwich.

Among the guests to recognise and celebrate Betty Tebbs’ achievements will be Bolton-born actor Maxine and Manchester-based singer/ songwriter Claire Mooney.

Chris Chilton, Chairman of Bolton Socialist Club, said: “After starting work at the age 14 in a paper mill in Radcliffe Betty Tebbs spent a lifetime fighting relentlessly to improve pay and working conditions in the industry, advancing women’s rights and working for peace, founding a refuge for victims of domestic abuse along the way. “Her life has been an inspiration for all of us who want a better, saner world and we’re proud to celebrate it with her.

“Maxine Peake has long admired Betty’s courage and determination and we’re absolutely delighted she has agreed to contribute to the evening.

“It’s no more than Betty deserves.”

Mrs Tebbs spent 18 years at the East Lancs Paper Mill, where the female worked became the highest paid women in the British paper industry.

Mrs Tebbs, who lost her husband in the Second World War, became a peace campaigner after seeing newspaper reports of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, campaigning through the Ban the Bomb movement and CND.

After moving to Warrington, she set up a refuge for victims of domestic violence and worked with abused women there for many years.

As Chair of the National Assembly for Women she attended many international conferences to advance women’s rights and to promote peace.

In 1986 at the height of the Cold War she spoke to 10,000 people in the Lenin Stadium in Moscow and met both the USSR and USA nuclear non-proliferation negotiating teams in Geneva.
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In 2007, approaching her 90th birthday, she was taken into police custody when taking part in demonstrations against Trident at the Faslane submarine base.

More recently, Mrs Tebbs joined the anti-austerity march at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester earlier this month, as the government pledges another £100 million to a replacement for Trident and promotes nuclear annihilation as a reasonable defence strategy.

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Jeremy Corbyn leads Manchester protest

The Tories, basically, are coming to town in the first week of October, and Manchester is having none of it.

Scheduled to run from 4-7 October, The People’s Assembly is heading the “Take Back Manchester” protest against The Conservative Party conference in the city. Road-blocking protests, marches, rallies and overnight camps in the areas where the Tories plan to have their conference have been planned.

At last month’s People’s Assembly meeting in the Northern Quarter, anti-austerity activists roared and cheered as various speakers addressed a packed Central Methodist Hall about the plans. The agenda is simple yet firm – stop David Cameron from coming to Manchester. Having agreed to act now to end Tory austerity, TPA supporters vowed to make a loud protest against The Tories.

Notable figures in attendance will include Jeremy Corbyn MP, Owen Jones, Maxine Peake, Frankie Boyle, Charlotte Church, Sam Fairburn (National Secretary of the People’s Assembly) Colette Williams from Black Activists Rise Up Against Cuts (BARAC), actress Julie Hesmondhalgh and Lynn Collins from North West TUC, just to mention a few.

“With what’s happening recently with Jeremy Corbyn, I just think there is a real bright future for us all and I didn’t think I would be in this position after the general election when I spent days in bed like most of you”, Maxine Peake said.

Launched just over 2 years ago in the same hall, The People’s Assembly has grown from just 700 members to over a 250,000. After feeling the people’s frustrations with the government’s economy of austerity measures, the anti-cuts movement actively gather for action – to change things.

The People’s Assembly plans to make the 4th October the biggest protest nationwide so they are even inviting non-Mancunians as there will be halls set up with sleeping and living facilities for just £2 per night. This will be going on all week.

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Actresses Maxine Peake and Julie Hesmondhalgh support Manchester anti-austerity protests

Actresses Maxine Peake and Julie Hesmondhalgh are planning to join anti-austerity protests at October’s Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

About 200 people attended a public meeting on Tuesday to organise protests and rallies.

The People’s Assembly is holding a national “week of action” from 3 October to 7 October.

Ms Peake said the government needed to change its anti-austerity strategy.

More than 35,000 people marched through central Manchester protesting against government cuts at the Conservative conference in 2011.

‘Standing up to cuts’

The party also held its autumn conference in the city in 2013.

Protesters are planning a 2015 demonstration to “make our voices heard”.

Singer Charlotte Church and comedian Frankie Boyle are also expected to attend.

Ms Peake said: “We’re standing up to the cuts. We’re standing up to austerity. We’re telling the Tory government ‘You can’t keep doing this to us’.

“I believe the majority of this country does not want these cuts and this mindless consistent bullying of the weak and the vulnerable.”

The actress, who starred in BBC legal drama Silk and Channel 4’s Shameless, called on people to join the protest.

She said: “The struggle is never over. We can’t sit back. They have to listen to us. I’m quite astounded they have got the cheek to have the party conference in a city which is really suffering from their cuts. Not just the city, but the surrounding north.

“What happened to the Northern Powerhouse that Mr Osborne promised us? It isn’t there. North of Watford is suffering. Rural communities are really being beaten down.”

Ms Peake added: “Austerity doesn’t work and it doesn’t have to be that way. We have to get this message to the people of this country.”

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Photos: Maxine Peake at the People’s Assembly Demo in Manchester