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SCALLYWAGS Theatre Com­pany is back at Port­land Basin Mu­seum on Satur­day, Septem­ber 15 for Let’s Protest!

It is a day of fam­ily theatre, sto­ries and fun ac­tiv­i­ties to mark the cen­te­nary of the Rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the Peo­ple Act. Suf­frag­ists and Suf­fragettes both cam­paigned for women to be given the right to vote but they had dif­fer­ent views about how this could be achieved.

The Na­tional Union of Women’s Suf­frage So­ci­eties (NUWSS), also known as the Suf­frag­ists, were led by Millicent Fawcett and took a peace­ful, non­con­fronta­tional ap­proach. They hoped to change opin­ion through pub­lic meet­ings, pe­ti­tions, posters and leaflets. In con­trast, the Suf­fragettes adopted a more ag­gres­sive and mil­i­tant strat­egy.

They were founded in Manch­ester by Em­me­line Pankhurst with her daugh­ters Christa­bel and Sylvia in 1903.

Of­fi­cially known as the Women’s So­cial and Po­lit­i­cal Union (WSPU), their motto ‘Deeds not Words’ re­flected their mem­bers’ dis­il­lu­sion with the lack of progress made by the Suf­frag­ists and the need for more direct ac­tion. The Suf­fragettes dis­rupted meet­ings, chained them­selves to rail­ings and dam­aged prop­erty.

Many were ar­rested and con­tin­ued their protests in prison by hunger strike.

Both the Suf­frag­ists and Suf­fragettes sus­pended their cam­paigns when war broke out in 1914. Af­ter the war ended in 1918 some women over the age of 30 were given the right to vote, and in 1928 this was ex­tended to all women over 21.

In ad­di­tion to the Scallywags per­for­mance, vis­i­tors to Port­land Basin Mu­seum can also dress up as a Suf­fragette, de­sign their own cam­paign rosette, and take a walk down our his­toric street and see which res­i­dents have joined the Suf­fragettes.

Let’s Protest! is free and runs from 11am to 3pm.

Fol­low us on Twit­ter @tm­bc_­cul­ture to find out about ex­hi­bi­tions and events across Tameside’s mu­se­ums and gal­leries.

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