New play telling story of post-war Labour Prime Minister comes to Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre

A new play documenting the fascinating time in post-war history when Government changed in power from Conservative Prime Minister Winston Churchill to Labour’s Clement Attlee, comes to Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre this Month.

The play arrives in the city to coincide with the Labour Party Conference, being held in Liverpool the same week – a deliberate and clever move by playwright and author Francis Beckett.

Clement Attlee runs for two shows at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre on Mon 26 and Tue 27 September, at 8pm.

It has been announced that Francis Beckett will be doing a book signing at the Labour Party Conference bookstall, run by booksellers Blackwells, in Liverpool at 3pm on Sunday 25 September. He will be signing copies of the play as well as his biography, Clem Attlee, Labour’s Great Reformer (Haus Publishing).

Attlee, considered by historians to be the greatest twentieth-century Prime Minister, founded the National Health Service, created the welfare state, brought in free education for all, and nationalised key industries like railways.

Clement Attlee (under its original title, A Modest Little Man) sold out in its first three runs, at Bread and Roses in South London and then at Upstairs at the Gatehouse in North London. It’s directed by Owain Rose, acting lecturer, theatre director and creative practitioner, former professional actor, who trained at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and the Manchester Metropolitan School of Theatre. He has directed 30 productions, most recently the new musical Musical of the Year (for which he also co-wrote the book) at LOST Theatre.

The full cast has now been confirmed for the Epstein Theatre production.

Attlee is played by Roger Rose, whose past roles have included Cecil in Vivat! Vivat Regina!, Ralph Nickleby in Nicholas Nickleby, Egeon in The Comedy of Errors, Sir Robert Morley in The Winslow Boy, Birdboot in The Real Inspector Hound, Ted in A Chorus of Disapproval, and Herr Schultz in Cabaret.

Attlee’s wife Violet Attlee is played by Lynne O’Sullivan, who trained at the Guildford School of Acting and recently played Nicola the vet in the horror movie Legend of the Pig Man. She played Lyla in The Return of Punch and Judy. Theatre work includes Arkadina in The Seagull for Stamford Arts Theatre, Miss Verjuice in The School for Scandal, Vi in The Memory of Water, Belinda in Season’s Greetings, Amanda in Private Lives and Anne-Marie in A Doll’s House. Lynne wrote and produced The Refuge, a thriller which was shown at the Barons Court Theatre London in 2020.

Herbert Morrison – Labour deputy leader and grandfather of Peter Mandelson – is played by Pete Picton, who hails from Rhyl and trained at Arts Ed. He is currently appearing in the feature films 83 (Netflix) and Jellyfish (BBCi/Amazon/Sky). He has recently completed a nationwide theatre tour of Catch Me If You Can with Patrick Duffy (Dallas) and has just finished a summer rep season at Sidmouth appearing in Ghost Train and Breaking the Code. Last year he toured in Richard II as John of Gaunt/the Bishop of Carlisle as well as appearing as Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night at the Brockley Jack (London) and followed that with New Diorama’s Yorkshire Ripper play The Incident Room.

Clive Greenwood combines the roles of King George V1; Aneurin Bevan, creator of the NHS; and a vicar. Clive has just completed Witness for the Prosecution in the West End, Celebrity Murder Mystery for Channel 5, Alan Carr’s Agatha Christie Adventure for More 4, and The Rebel for UK Gold. He appears in the new films See How They Run and Banglatown. He performed in live radio versions of The Goon Show (as Harry Secombe) and Hancock’s Half Hour. He played Frankie Howerd in the National tour of Up Pompeii, a new play Howerd’s End and Not Tonight Caligula by Ray Galton and John Antrobus, and Rigsby in the stage version of Rising Damp. He co-wrote Goodbye; the (after)life of Cook & Moore which has enjoyed several sell out runs in London and Edinburgh. His play The Ballad of Crookback & Shakespeare is published by TSL Books, who will be publishing his new play Laurel & Hancock later this year.

Actor and voiceover Silas Hawkins also plays several parts: Winston Churchill, Chancellor of the Exchequer High Dalton, and journalist John Carvel. Silas’s recent theatre work includes Cornet Solo by Ben Francis at the Arcola and GrandpaTony in I’ll Be Along D’reckly by Mark Lindow at the Pleasance. Recent audio drama includes Francis in Dr Who, The Rise of the New Humans for Big Fish Productions and Bruck in The Soul Breaker for Audible. Recent documentary voiceover includes Latin Music USA (BBC4) and The Pharm in Scottish Manga animation Rogue Farm. He provided the voices of 16 dodgy antique dealers in an audio version of Brighton’s Knockers.

The parts of left-wing politician Jennie Lee and Rose will both be played by Miranda Colmans. Miranda is an actress and writer from London. A former insomniac, she used her many waking hours to write her solo show Awake which she performed at the Edinburgh and Sydney Fringe festivals to critical acclaim. Miranda has appeared in a wide range of theatre productions from Shakespeare to pantomime and on screen in films, TV and commercials.

Clement Attlee’s 1945 to 1951 Government founded the National Health Service; created the welfare state; brought in free education for all; and nationalised key industries like railways. Attlee is considered by historians to be the greatest 20th Century Prime Minister.

Playwright and author Francis Beckett explained, “This is a history play for our times. It reminds us of a time when Britain was competently governed when its leaders put substance before style. Staged in Liverpool during Labour Party Conference week, this play will give theatregoers a chance to rate Sir Keir Starmer alongside Labour’s greatest ever leader.

“People asked me how I could write a comedy about this boring little man. But beneath the commonplace exterior, he was a fascinating man, and a Prime Minister of rare skill and determination. I hope this play proves it.”

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