On 16 August 1819, in excess of 60,000 people from all over Manchester made their way into St Peter’s Field, the area we now know as St Peter’s Square. All of these people came in peace, joined by their passion for the right to vote. As the people crowded to hear the speeches, troops on horseback armed with sabres and clubs charged through the crowd. More than 600 people were injured and 15 people were killed. A landmark moment in Mancunian, and British history, this atrocity became known as The Peterloo Massacre.
The summer of 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of The Peterloo Massacre and most fittingly, Manchester International Festival will commemorate the pivotal event with a special day of poetry, music and performance, The Anvil: An Elegy for Peterloo.
One of Ireland’s boldest theatre companies, ANU will take to the streets of Manchester for a day-long sequence of immersive performances. All of these performances are free to attend and will be inspired by the lives and voices of those who lost their lives during The Peterloo Massacre.
The company is renowned for placing the audience at the very centre of the performance
ANU are a multidisciplinary company – blending theatre, dance and visual art – their sterling reputation is built upon their success in creating transformative experiences in unorthodox locations. The company is renowned for placing the audience at the very centre of the performance experience as a method of facilitating an autonomous and meaningful exchange between the performer and the spectator.
Following a day of performances from ANU, the evening commemoration will feature a major new musical composition by Emily Howard. In a beautiful tribute to our city, this world premiere will be performed by the BBC Philharmonic at The Bridgewater Hall.
An apt series of events providing reflection on the outrage of 1819 while also offering an urgent new connection with our city in the 21st century.