Play at Gladstone Theatre to look at Lord Lever’s Congo involvement

The Power Foundation for Young People Charity is putting on a play that explores Lord Lever’s influence on the Congo from 1911.

Originally scheduled for this year, the production has been rescheduled for 19 January 2023 and will be performed at the Gladstone Theatre in Port Sunlight.

The play, written by Kai Jolley, is a pithy and humorous script and is important for the community and the further Merseyside population as there are themes around retrospectively looking at Lord Lever’s involvement with forced labour, especially in the Congo.

Lord Lever (as he was known at the time in which the play is set) was an advocate for the expansion of the British Empire, particularly in Africa and Asia, which supplied palm oil, a key ingredient in Lever’s product line. His firm had become associated with activities in the Belgian Congo by 1911.

The charity, The Power Foundation for Young People, was commissioned to write and perform the play which involves a multi-racial cast that bravely tackle this sensitive subject with humour, but also with the seriousness it deserves.

The play centres around a school trip to a museum that opens the door to the past meeting the present. What has 100 years taught us, has today blurred into yesterday that takes us on a journey never to be forgotten?

Christopher Lee Power directs the play. He said, “I think it’s important to realise that in the light of Black Lives Matter there have been many questions about Lord Leverhulme’s connection with the Belgian Congo and forced labour.

“The audience will see the past represented in the museum setting by Lord Lever and his brother James as they meet the present, which are three young people and a teacher who represent different points of view of today.

“Lord Leverhulme answers questions put to him by the teenagers as he takes them back in time. It will be a mixture of fantasy, humour and drama. The audience will gain insight into his humble beginnings, Port Sunlight and the Congo. We have a brilliant musical score by Isabelle Ryder which compliments this brand new play.”

Finding Lever – Sunlight of Congo is at the Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight on Thursday 19 January 2023. Tickets: £12 and concessions £10 available from the Gladstone Theatre box office

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