On The March in Hertfordshire with touring suffrage play

Actress Catherine Forrester, who plays the lead role of Cissy Walters in new play The March.

Actress Catherine Forrester, who plays the lead role of Cissy Walters in new play The March. - Credit: Supplied by Pins & Feathers

A new play celebrating Hertfordshire’s suffrage campaigners of 100 years ago will be touring the county next month.

The March

The March - Credit: Pins & Feathers

Marking this year’s centenary of women gaining the vote in national elections, community theatre company Pins & Feathers will be taking The March to various village halls, churches and venues across the county in September, including venues in Digswell, Bramfield, Knebworth, Hitchin and Welwyn.

The March is based on the real-life stories of Herts women who fought for change, from suffragette Lady Constance Lytton of Knebworth, who endured prison and force feeding, to the suffragists – the non-militant campaigners – who spread the message in every town and village.

The play features the extraordinary Great Pilgrimage of July 1913, in which thousands of suffragists from all over the country marched to London to demonstrate peaceful mass support for the vote.

The event had a big impact on Hertfordshire, as two arms of the march passed through the county.

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Marchers coming down the Great North Road passed through Letchworth, Hitchin, Stevenage, Knebworth, Welwyn, Hatfield and Potters Bar, while those coming from East Anglia down the Cambridge Road went through Royston, Buntingford, Ware and Hoddesdon.

Many local people joined them along the way.

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In all these towns the Suffragists held public meetings – some attended by more than 1,000 people – to put their case for women having the vote.

“The marchers with their banners must have been a real spectacle in the county,” said Kate Miller, writer of The March.

“Although there was a lot of support for votes for women in Hertfordshire, the marchers encountered hostile mobs too, and in Ware they had to be rescued by the police.”

Pins & Feathers is taking the play to many towns and villages through which the Pilgrimage passed, and also to Knebworth House.

The show opens at Hertford Theatre Studio on Thursday, September 6, and is a co-production with the theatre.

Full details and booking information are available on the website www.pinsandfeathersproductions.com

The March 2018 tour:

• September 6-8: Hertford Theatre Studio.

• September 12: Benson Hall, Buntingford.

• September 13: QMT Studio, Hitchin.

• September 14: Bramfield Village Hall.

• September 15: Digswell Village Hall.

• September 16: Knebworth House Barns.

• September 19: St Mary’s Church House, Welwyn.

• September 20: Hunsdon Village Hall.

• September 21: Letchworth Settlement.

• September 22: Thundridge Village Hall.

• September 23: St Catherine & St Paul Church, Hoddesdon.

• September 26: St Andrew & St George Church, Stevenage.

• September 27: Sawbridgeworth Memorial Hall.

• September 28: Southern Maltings Arts Centre, Ware.

• September 29: St Andrew’s Church, Hertford.

• September 30: St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, London.

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