Co-created by composer Alison Willis and participants in Streetwise Opera’s weekly workshops at the Nottingham Playhouse.
It’s the early 1800s and Britain is in the middle of the industrial revolution. Textiles produced in the isles are gaining an international market, and producers are eager to increase their capacity. They introduce the wide framework, which allows them to hire fewer and less-experienced knitters. Qualified workers are going hungry because of the machines.
This micro-opera explores the rebellion led by “Ned Ludd”, a Robin Hood-like false persona who was created to mobilise knitters. Under the cover of darkness, the Luddites would break into textile workshops and smash the frameworks. They were persecuted and threatened with hanging, but they inspired workers to fight for their rights. That spirit of rebellion and social justice lives on across Nottingham today.