Hindle Wakes (play)

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For the Lancashire poultry dish, see Hindle Wakes (dish).

Hindle Wakes is a stage play by Stanley Houghton written in 1910. It was first performed in 1912.

Plot[edit]

The play is set in the fictional mill town of Hindle in Lancashire in England, and concerns two young people, Fanny Hawthorn and Alan Jeffcote, who are discovered to have been having what would now be called a "dirty weekend" during their holiday, during the town's wakes week. Class is a major plot point in the play; Fanny is a mill-hand in the factory owned by Alan's father and their respective fathers once worked together before Mr Jeffcote senior rose to owning a mill, while Mr Hawthorn continued as a mill worker.

After initial reluctance on the part of Mr Jeffcote senior, and the outright opposition of his wife (who suspects Fanny of being a gold-digger), the families pressure the couple to get married. Greatly to the surprise of everyone (including Alan) Fanny refuses. She makes it clear that she regarded the dalliance with Alan as "a bit of fun" and considers him a poor choice for a husband. She is disowned by her people but expresses confidence that her skills as a weaver will allow her to support herself in future.

It seemed quite a controversial and subversive piece at the time it was written, and provoked a prolonged correspondence in the Pall Mall Gazette in which both the author, Stanley Houghton, and the original actress participated, with many correspondents questioning whether the play's treatment of non-marital sex would set a bad example. The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford placed all the theatres showing it out of bounds to students. [1]

Performances[edit]

It was first performed in 1912 by Annie Horniman's Gaiety Theatre company, originally in Manchester and then in London and on Broadway. The character Fanny Hawthorn was played by Edyth Goodall in the original production.

It was the play in performance at Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre during the 1996 Manchester bombing and the play with which the theatre reopened in December 1998, following almost two-and-a-half year repair works following the bomb damage.

The 100th anniversary of Stanley Houghton's Hindle Wakes was marked in 2012. In September 2012, the first London revival in over 30 years took place at Finborough Theatre (Earls Court) from the 11th to the 29th.

It has been filmed four times, twice in the silent era (1918, 1927), and twice in the sound era (1931, 1952) although the film versions have tended to open out the play considerably. There was also a grittier TV movie version of it (1976), starring Donald Pleasence and co-directed by Laurence Olivier.

The 1931 film starred Belle Chrystal as the mill girl and John Stuart as the employer's son, with Sybil Thorndike, Edmund Gwenn and Norman McKinnel. Parts of it were filmed in Blackpool.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pogson: Miss Horniman and the Gaiety Theatre Manchester. Rockliff Publishing Corporation Ltd (1952)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]