Maxine Peake and David Morrissey to perform at refugee fundraising event

Actors including Maxine Peake, David Morrissey and Rufus Hound will come together to perform in a benefit show for the UN Refugee Agency at the National Theatre.

The event will feature both new and existing work by writers including Richard Bean, Michelle Terry and David Edgar, and will be curated by actor Emma Manton in response to the refugee crisis in Europe.

Peake said: “I am supporting this event as everything that can be done to help and support the refugee crisis must be done. I hope events like this will encourage the powers that be to allow more refugees a home and sanctuary in our country.”

Andy Nyman, Noma Dumezweni, Ray Fearon, Adjoa Andoh and Zubin Varla will also perform at the event, which will take place on February 14 in the Lyttelton Theatre.

UN Refugee Agency representative Gonzalo Vargas Llosa said the organisation was “deeply grateful” that the event would be taking place.

“With your support, we will be able to continue our life-saving work to protect and meet the urgent humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable refugee families,” he said.

Further cast and creatives are yet to be announced.

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‘Our melting, shifting, liquid world’: celebrities read poems on climate change

Actors including James Franco, Ruth Wilson, Gabriel Byrne, Maxine Peake, Jeremy Irons, Kelly Macdonald and Michael Sheen read a series of 21 poems on the theme of climate change, curated by UK poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Includes two bonus poems from Byrne and Franco

Maxine Peake
reads A Mancunian Taxi-driver Foresees His Death by Michael Symmons Roberts

On a radio show some self-help guru says

the earth will burn out in a hundred years

so treat each day as an eternity.

I am in a taxi when I hear this news,

airport-bound on the flyover

with my home town spread like a map below.

So my driver slams his foot to the floor,

and tells me that when the oil runs out

he will ship this cab to Arizona,

find the last fill-up on the planet,

drain the pump and power out into the wilderness

until the car coughs, then abandon it.

He will take from the dash this shot of his daughters,

his shark’s tooth on its chain,

then leave the radio with an audience

of skulls and vultures. I wind the window down

to catch my breath and ask what kind

of funeral is that? Then him: It’s just a made-up one.

He drops me by the long-haul sign

and I give him a tip well over the odds.

As I stand with my bags it begins to rain.

A man smiles down from a floodlit billboard

– well insured, invested, sound –

which leaves me feeling heartsore, undefended.

Maxine Peake
reads Doggerland by Jo Bell

The land bridge connecting Great Britain to mainland Europe during the last Ice Age was gradually flooded by rising sea levels around 6,500 BC. It was discovered in 1931 when a Norfolk trawler dredged up an unexpected artefact.

Out from Cromer in an easy sea, Pilgrim Lockwood

cast his nets and fetched up a harpoon.

Twelve thousand years had blunted not one barb.

An antler sharpened to a spike, a bony bread knife

from a time of glassy uplands and no bread:

Greetings from Doggerland, it said.

It’s cold. We answer ice with elk and mammoth, larks

and people like you. We are few. We hunt and eat and walk

and then move on, or fall. There are midges

but you can’t have everything. We fish or fowl;

we stalk carp-fat lagoons with ivory spears.

Our softened swamps are thick with eels. We sing.

Pilgrim felt his feet transparent on the deck, a sailor

treading uplands sixty fathoms back; saw nettled deer tracks

pooling, inch by sodden inch, into a whaler’s channel;

inlands islanded and highlands turned to shipping hazards,

fellsides lessened to a knuckled string; the sly brine

loosing peat from longbones, locking snails into the bedrock.

He turned for harbour, kissed the quoins of every house

and took to hillwalking. Time, he said, was water:

water, time. At neap tides he felt England’s backbone

shift and shiver; saw the caverns fill, the railways rivered

and the Pennine mackerel flashing through lead mines,

the last dove lifting from the summit of Lose Hill.

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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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Maxine Peake supports ‘Fast For Shaker’

Actress Maxine Peake supports We Stand With Shaker’s new initiative, Fast For Shaker, in which celebrities, MPs and members of the public are being encouraged to show solidarity with Shaker Aamer, who is on a hunger strike in Guantánamo and fears for his life, despite being told on September 25 that he will be freed soon, by pledging to undertake a hunger strike of their own for a minimum of 24 hours, on a day of their choosing. The initiative starts on Thursday 15 October, and will last until Shaker is released, which could – and should – be as early as 24 October.

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Celebrities Go On Hunger Strike In Guantanamo Protest

British Celebrities Including Actors Maxine Peake And Mark Rylance Have Agreed To Fast For 24 Hours In Solidarity With Shaker Ahmed, The Last British Detainee Of The Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp.

The stars will join British Members of Parliament (MPs), Ahmed’s family, and other supporters in a one-day hunger strike to highlight the alleged mistreatment of Ahmed, who is currently refusing meals at the U.S. facility.

Ahmed has been held in the detention camp since February, 2002, after being accused of fighting alongside Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, but he has never stood trial on any charge.

It was announced on 25 September (15) that he will be released to return to the U.K. within 30 days, but Saudi-born Ahmed remains on hunger strike.

“After the great news that Shaker is to be released from Guantanamo, we were all disturbed to discover that he is on a hunger strike,” Andy Worthington, of the We Stand With Shaker campaign, tells Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper.

“We are hoping to encourage Shaker to give up his hunger strike, in the knowledge that others have chosen to take up his protest at his ongoing ill-treatment.

“After nearly 14 years in U.S. custody, treated brutally and never charged or tried, Shaker needs to be back with his family in London.”

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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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Maxine Peake, Nico Mirallegro, Cel Spellman, and Julie Hesmondhalgh say Stand Up To Racism. Refugees Welcome Here.


In the run up to the Tory Party Conference in Manchester during the first week of October, Greater Manchester based actors have Stood Up to Racism and backed this coming Saturday’s (12 Sept) launch that is part of a National Day to Support Refugees.

As we face the largest refugee crisis since World War Two, Manchester’s Stand Up to Racism launch event this Saturday will be concentrating on how people from here can reach out to the refugees who are already here, alongside those in Calais.

At the People’s Assembly rally last night in the city centre, hundreds gathered to hear speeches urging everyone to get onto Multicultural Manchester’s streets next month and make it crystal clear to the Tories that this city is against both the Austerity and the Racism that goes hand in hand with it.

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