Writing On Wigan Pier

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SP20100731

David Pownall's play has strong resonance for today.

In 1936, George Orwell embarked on a visit to Wigan, a typical coal-mining town in industrial Lancashire in order to write a book about the people, their experiences and their struggle to cope with the effects of the Depression.

Determined not to be dismissed as a dispassionate observer, he resolves to spend time living with and amongst the people.

However, he brings with him his self-guilt, his obsession with the English class system, his fiercely-held preconceptions of the working-class and his remarkable cut-glass voice, of which he is all too painfully aware.

The visit is both revealing and humorous.

He stays in an appalling doss-house above a tripe shop, tries to work down a pit, stays with a family, makes a pass at the wife, upsets the local Women's Institute and meets a priest escaping from fascism in Spain.

Whilst most who meet him take him for who and what he is, for Orwell the experience develops into a journey of self-discovery.

Cast:

Orwell - Adrian Scarborough

Neil - Karl Davies

Helen - Helen Longworth

Grandad - Bernard Cribbins

Mrs Brooker/Country Lady - Thelma Barlow

Gollancz - Keith Drinkel

Arnold - Anthony Glennon

Meade/Ignatius - Tom Bevan

Directed by Martin Jenkins

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

David Pownall's play explores George Orwell's time in Wigan in the early months of 1936.

SP20100731

David Pownall's play has strong resonance for today.

In 1936, George Orwell embarked on a visit to Wigan, a typical coal-mining town in industrial Lancashire in order to write a book about the people, their experiences and their struggle to cope with the effects of the Depression.

Determined not to be dismissed as a dispassionate observer, he resolves to spend time living with and amongst the people.

However, he brings with him his self-guilt, his obsession with the English class system, his fiercely-held preconceptions of the working-class and his remarkable cut-glass voice, of which he is all too painfully aware.

The visit is both revealing and humorous.

He stays in an appalling doss-house above a tripe shop, tries to work down a pit, stays with a family, makes a pass at the wife, upsets the local Women's Institute and meets a priest escaping from fascism in Spain.

Whilst most who meet him take him for who and what he is, for Orwell the experience develops into a journey of self-discovery.

Cast:

Orwell - Adrian Scarborough

Neil - Karl Davies

Helen - Helen Longworth

Grandad - Bernard Cribbins

Mrs Brooker/Country Lady - Thelma Barlow

Gollancz - Keith Drinkel

Arnold - Anthony Glennon

Meade/Ignatius - Tom Bevan

Directed by Martin Jenkins

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

David Pownall's play explores George Orwell's time in Wigan in the early months of 1936.