A guest blog by Chris Bartlett
Glasgow Friends of MayDay (GFoMD) have run a festival around the International Workers’ Day in Glasgow for the last six years. This year we worked alongside the Radical Film Network (RFN) Festival ensuring a number of RFN events feature in our programme.
Other events are also featured, in particular our focus event at Oran Mor, scheduled again on the Monday holiday (May 2). This year however, its focus will change from a cabaret evening to a night of drama and song.
To mark the centenary of Dublin’s Easter Rising, the title changes to the Great Mayday Rising, and the first half of the evening will be the premiere of a new play produced by FairPley, about Margaret Skinnider – a Coatbridge woman who was wounded in 1916 fighting in Dublin, for James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army.
The play – Margaret Skinnider:Rebel Heart – will be followed by sets by folk-punk band The Wakes, and the political doyen of folk, Arthur Johnstone, making sure that our traditional musical celebration gets a good airing, and ensure that ‘the red and the green will be worn side by side’ as Hamish Henderson put it! Tix here.
The play is written by Cat Hepburn, from research by Maggie Chetty, who also chairs the 1916 Easter Rising Committee (Scotland) Committee. It stars Clare Gray, Julie Hale and Erin McCardie. Maggie Chetty said “Margaret Skinnider was a remarkable woman. A schoolteacher, a markswoman, a revolutionary, a true rebel heart, but like so many women, her story is obscure. I felt this was an appropriate time to celebrate her courage and her lifelong commitment to progress.”
Other events during the two weeks either side of the MayDay weekend also reflect the centenary – Brian and Martin McCardie’s one–person play, Connolly, premiering on May 6/7 in the Tron as part of its Mayfesto season
The RFN Festival includes a number of union and work-related films and those focusing on women’s and international struggles, mostly at the STUC Centre. In particular Blacklisting – (30 April – 4.00) discusses the use of film by campaigners against blacklisting for TU activities. Other RFN events are – TU shorts – film shorts made by a range of Scottish trade unionists (29 April – 6.00). An exploration of the making of feminist documentary is hosted by the Glasgow Women’s Library is on in the library at 6.00 on the 30 April, and A Lutta Continua will explore colonialism and neo-colonialism and resistance to both in a new venue – South Block Glasgow (30 April – 8.00) next to the African-Caribbean Centre.
Music also features. The Second Love Music:Hate Racism MayDay gig takes place in the Queen Margaret Union on 1 May (7.00 till late), and Unite Scotland’s Youth Committee puts a social face on socialism in Stereo from 7.00. (30 April)
This year’s Mayday Marches will take place on different days around Scotland, with the largest on Sunday May 1 in Glasgow – this year it will rally in the Old Fruitmarket and features a speech from John McDonnell MP (Shadow Chancellor). Others will be on Sat April 30 (Aberdeen, Dundee and Fife) and Sat May 7 (Edinburgh and Irvine).
The programme, and details of Margaret Skinnider:Rebel Heart are both available via the GFoMD website. http://may1st.org.uk/