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Mike Leigh to speak at anniversary screening of Peterloo in Manchester

Home » To do & see » Mike Leigh to speak at anniversary screening of Peterloo in Manchester

To mark the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, HOME Manchester is hosting a one-off, pay what you can, screening of the 2018 film, Peterloo followed by a Q&A with director, Mike Leigh.

PETERLOO featuring Rory Kinnear as Henry Hunt courtesy of Amazon Studios.
PETERLOO featuring Rory Kinnear as Henry Hunt courtesy of Amazon Studios.

On 16th August 1819, 60,000 people gathered from all over the region on what was then known as St. Peter’s Field in Manchester to hear orator, Henry Hunt speak about political reform to allow people of Manchester to have representation in parliament through a democratic vote. Like many parts of the country in the early nineteenth century, Manchester and Salford had no MP, and no voice in parliament. At that time only the richest land-owners had the right to vote vote, with many believing that all men should not be given this right.

Whole families, many of whom had barely eaten due to poverty, marched from as far as Oldham to be part of the peaceful protest. Mike Leigh’s film, starring Maxine Peake and Rory Kinnear, depicts the poverty and social injustice experienced by many people living in Manchester in the run up to the demonstration. Soldiers were returning from the Napoleonic Wars with no work to come home to. Industrialisation was taking jobs in the cotton industry and the Corn Laws were keeping the price of food artificially high.

PETERLOO featuring Director Mike Leigh behind the scenes courtesy of Amazon Studios.
PETERLOO featuring Director Mike Leigh behind the scenes courtesy of Amazon Studios.

Although we know the outcome – 18 people murdered and approximately 700 injured when cavalry charged the crowds – Leigh’s film brings humanity to those who lost their lives, and hits us with the cruel brutality of the day that came to define Manchester as a radical city and to mark a turning point in British democracy.

Peterloo – pay what you can – with a Q&A with director Mike Leigh is at HOME Manchester on Sunday 18 August 2019 at 4pm. The film has a 12A certificate. Tickets are only available from the Box Office and you are invited to pay what you can into a collection box at the Box Office counter when collecting your ticket. Advance booking is recommended, and no refunds can be given for this screening.

Written by
Carmel Thomason
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Written by Carmel Thomason