The Liberty Tree is a rebellious, feel-good, jukebox musical for anyone sick of being overworked, underpaid and powerless.
It’s Agitprop meets the Wizard of Oz and is a hilarious, up-lifting satire on modern Britain. The show isa non-professional, pilot and is performed by students and young activists and is an inspiring night out for all lefties, radicals, socialists, anarchists, trade unionists and fellow travellers.
After a pilot production by Public Domain in 2015, The Liberty Tree is now being developed as an educational tool for youth groups, youth theatres, schools, colleges and universities. If you are interested in producing a production of The Liberty Tree or using the text as an educational resource you can find out more information here.
Rosa is a young woman working in a Call Centre (the electronic sweatshops of the 21st Century). She witnesses a manager cruelly bullying a colleague but does nothing. A fellow worker, Joe, does intervene and is sacked. That night Rosa is tormented by her cowardice in the face of such injustice. As she sleeps she dreams and when she awakes she is trapped in the grotesque, The Land Of Do What You’re Told. She soon discovers that the only way out of this land of obedience and subservience is to go on a journey to find The Liberty Tree…
The show played at The Cockpit in London from Wed 24th – Saturday 27th June, after a sell-out run in Bath in May. This was a non-professional, pilot production and the cast and crew were all students and young activists.
The play is written and directed by TV & theatre actor, writer and director, Chris Jury, best known for playing Eric Catchpole in the BBC’s antique classic, Lovejoy and directing 0ver 50 episodes of Eastenders.
“I wrote the play as a response to what I perceive as a crisis of political education in the UK.” Said Chris.
“Many young people have not even the flimsiest notions of how we got to be supposedly free citizens in a free country, let alone that it is possible to resist the exploitation they are all too aware they are experiencing in the workplace.”
The Liberty Tree is deliberately aimed at these young people and young trade unionists, and is an attempt to address this failure of education but not through lectures and textbooks, but through the vehicle of a large-scale musical which uses drama, music and comedy to demonstrate the political realities of how power is expressed and to extol the virtues of collective political action as a response of the powerless to the abuses of the powerful.
Audiences Responses to The Liberty Tree:
“The best use of swearing in a play ever.”
“Well done to the cast on an amazing night, didn’t think I would end the evening dancing!!!”
“What a fantastic combination of energy, pace and play in the performances.”
“Visually and sensorially intense, the action reflects a very powerful narrative.”
“A politically very sophisticated piece of writing but also such great fun!”
“Lively performances, great music, fabulous movement and some truly stunning moments. ‘I shall be released’ under a noose gave me shudders….”
“The Liberty Tree is laugh out loud stuff. Very clever and very funny and very sophisticated politically.”
“The ghosts of Eisenstein, Meyerhold and Piscator come to life.”
“Effin’ brilliant. If you haven’t seen it, you’ll regret it forever!”
“What we have here is a great bit of old fashioned Agitprop; a Socialist panto – Wizard of Oz rewritten by William Morris and Ewan MacColl.”
Mike Bradwell, Founder Of Hull Truck.
Trade union membership in the UK is rising. 6.5 million people are members of trade unions and the proportion of workers in unions is around 26%, but amongst young workers aged (16-24) it falls to only 8%. In the kinds of workplaces and sectors in which many young people work, or at least get their first job, there is no union to join and amongst the vast majority of young people trade unionism has no image whatsoever – good or bad.
The Green movement, the student demo’s of 2010, and the Occupy movement demonstrate that significant numbers of young people are passionate about politics and social change but are not seeing the trade union movement as part of that process. The Liberty Tree is an attempt to demonstrate to young workers in particular the power of collective action in the workplace – but not through lectures or factual leaflets but by presenting a left-wing feel-good, musical that uses comedy, drama and great contemporary music.
“I love its honesty and energy… It is the sort of piece that Stratford East used to do 30 years ago.” Nicholas Kent, Founding Director of The Tricycle Theatre, Kilburn.
Although inspired by and directed at young workers the show is a great night out for rebels, radicals, socialists, anarchists and trade unionists of all ages, and clearly articulates how we are all exploited by capitalism and how the only effective way we can resist is collectively.
“Life affirming and very uplifting… it has a gorgeous soul to it!”
Kerry Irvine, Theatre Producer
We will be recording the music as a CD and making a DVD video of the production so that the show can have a life beyond the initial performances.
WEBSITE – https://thelibertytree.org.uk