‘A working-class woman inside the walls of Westminster? If that is not espionage, I do not know what is.’
Forever on the right side of history, but on the wrong side of life, Labour MP Ellen Wilkinson is caught between revolutionary and parliamentary politics as she fights for a better world.
Battling to save Jewish refugees in Nazi Germany; campaigning for Britain to aid the fight against Franco’s Fascists in Spain; leading two hundred workers in the Jarrow Crusade against unemployment and poverty… she pursues each cause with a passionate, reckless conviction.
And yet – despite a life spent running into the likes of Albert Einstein and Ernest Hemingway, serving in Churchill’s cabinet, having affairs with communist spies and government ministers – she still finds herself, somehow, on the outside looking in.
Caroline Bird’s play Red Ellen is the remarkable true story of an inspiring and brilliant woman. It was first produced by Northern Stage, Nottingham Playhouse and the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in 2022.
‘An inspiring and remarkable new play… deeply compelling, often humorous and very moving… It will blow you away’
‘Not just a tribute to a pioneering woman, independent and sexually liberated, but also an analysis of the left’s fraught struggle for equality. Red Ellen crackles with modern day resonances’
‘Often moving and not afraid to tackle big subjects, with humour and playfulness’
— The Stage
‘You’d go a long way to beat Caroline Bird’s new play about the legendary North East politician and heroine of the Jarrow March, Ellen Wilkinson… It brings to life the flesh and blood of the woman, her strengths and foibles, her personal triumphs and disasters’
— British Theatre Guide
‘A three-dimensional portrait that is as believable as it is compelling… Funny, fiery and compassionate’
— Reviews Hub