The Anvil: ANU

An elegy for Peterloo

Sun 7 July, 2019

Sun 7 July, 2019

  • About the show
  • Creative team

On 16 August 1819, more than 60,000 people flooded into St Peter’s Field from all over Manchester. They came in peace, united in their passion for the right to vote. But as the speeches began, armed troops on horseback charged into the crowd, killing 15 and injuring more than 600. The Peterloo Massacre was a pivotal moment in British history, a landmark on our road to democracy. During the Festival, MIF marked the 200th anniversary with an extraordinary day of performance, poetry and music.

What would make you take to the streets?

One of Europe’s most thrilling theatre companies, ANU created a series of 15 artistic interventions in Manchester city centre, all completely free. From theatre and dance to soundscapes and visual art, this day-long immersion is inspired by those who died at Peterloo – but also by the lives, stories and concerns of those living in Manchester today, from zero-hours contracts to climate change, forging a vital new connection between 1819 and our 21st-century city.

The evening saw the world premiere of a major new piece of music by composer Emily Howard, and writer Michael Symmons Roberts, winner of the Costa Poetry Award. An elegy to the fallen and a celebration of our city, the work was performed at The Bridgewater Hall by the BBC Philharmonic with a chorus featuring the BBC Singers and three Hallé choirs.

The BSL interpretation schedule of the 15 artistic interventions can be found here.

Commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival. Supported by Culture Ireland.

Image Credit: Manuel Streit


Image Credit: Chris Payne, Lee Baxter

Director – Louise Lowe
Design – Owen Boss
ANU Producers – Lynnette Moran and Matt Smyth
Lighting Design – Ciaran Bagnall
Sound Design – Sinéad Diskin
Costume Design – Saileóg O’Halloran
Assistant Director – Samantha Cade
Stage Managers – Bairbre Ní hAodha and Dylan Farrell

Creative Leaders Danny Fahey (Thirty Pound Gentleman), Tasha Whittle, Billy Cowan, Hafsah Bashir, Keisha Thompson, Annie Woodson and Jim Dawson
Associate Artist Mark Croasdale (Clemency)
Poet Nasima Begum (Jerwood Creative Fellow)

Nandi Bhebhe, David Fawaz, Etta Fusi, Una Kavanagh, Clinton Liberty, Niamh McCann, Sarah Morris, Michael Glenn Murphy, Jamie O’Neill, Robbie O’Connor, Matthew Williamson

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