Artist: Powder Keg

Archive: Trafford Local Studies, Sale, Altrincham and Stretford Libraries

Project: To Be Continued

Using the archival material from Sale Library we were able to delve a little into the reports coming out as and when it happened from the Peterloo Massacre. We were also able to read a little about the lives of the people who lived in the Trafford area to give us a better idea of the people and the community from here who took part in the event. From here we mixed this with our own practise focusing on the contemporary and found a lot of parallels between the community responses to politics both in 1819 and today in 2019 which sparked most of what you see here. Inspired directly from a minute book, containing chapters marked ‘Part [number] of the Peterloo Massacre, price twopence, to be continued’ 1-14, we came up with our piece ‘To Be Continued’ which was performed in 14 parts. This involved workshops at Sale and Altrincham where we made a banner, on which members of the community used painted shoes to leave their footprints,  badge making inspired by family crests and sign making reflecting protest thoughts. As a group we then documented our walk from Sale to Manchester Central to retrace those footsteps as it would have been on the day. 

The performance day itself was at Sale Library and ran for an hour and a half and involved performances with storytelling and our personal responses to what freedom democracy and protest means to us today – a lot of which was inspired by the workshops previously ran with the people in these areas, and some listening material based on the walk. This meant that an audience could drop in and out, select stories they wanted us to perform, make badges to add to our banner, or listen to original music created for the piece and our walk from Sale to Central Manchester using headphones in the space. This culminated in taking the banner to HOME Theatre in the city centre and performing a piece for the crowds there about what we had done, showing who you all were, and what it means for us to bring your voices all that way.

The legacy of this project lives on through bringing the banner and presenting it along the written words in frames as a display at Sale Library.

Powder Keg are and award-winning theatre company based in Manchester. We are a democratic multi-disciplinary company. Our work is overtly political and is made as a response to the lives we lead and the things that matter to us. We operate a policy of care in the way we make work and we share the same policy when sharing our work to audiences. That being said, we actively encourage ourselves and audiences to step outside of our respective comfort zones by creating challenging and thought provoking work.

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