Cambridge school marks women’s right to vote victory

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Cambridge school marks women’s right to vote victory

St Mary's School, Cambridge, marked the centennial of women gaining the right to vote in the UK, by inviting Classworks Theatre group to perform a special re-enactment of a speech given by Emmeline Pankhurst in 1912.

Kate Latham, Director of Teaching & Learning at the school, introduced the performance on International Women's Day, March 8, and urged students, from Year 6 to the Upper Sixth, to act as if they were in the original 1912 crowd.

She said: “Some brave women gained the right to vote 100 years ago. Emmeline Pankhurst was one of the most significant suffragettes in history and, in 1912, she gave the speech that you are about to hear to a very large, very rowdy crowd at The Guildhall in Cambridge."

In the re-enactment,students found themselves amongst "hecklers' who disapproved of Mrs Pankhurst's outspoken opinions about equality for women. The performance exposed some of the horrors women faced in the early 1900s and the relative privilege enjoyed by men at the same time. During the speech, Mrs Pankhurst – played by Mandi Cattell – revealed that she spent six weeks in prison as a result of visiting the House of Commons with a petition and refusing to move on when asked. She went on to explain that the same sentence was served by a prominent man in Bradford for committing atrocious acts.

Pictured above, a heckler attacks suffragettes Emmeline Pankhurst and Georgina Brackenbury.