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May Days

A dramatic poem performed at The Playground Theatre at 6 p.m. on Saturday 16 June 2018

On 12 June 2016 William Alderson started a poem about the current times in the manner of Shelley’s Masque of Anarchy. Two days later the Grenfell Tower caught fire, and that disaster became the pivotal image for May Days, as the Peterloo massacre had been for Shelley.


May Days was immediately published by (which had not published poetry before), and their review described it as

a magnificent long poemwherethe reader is swept along by its controlled passion. It is a remarkable stimulus to appreciate the great possibilities in this kind of writing, of which so little is produced today. 


Based on personal testimony, May Days is not the voice of one person but of the many victims of our times, and it uses carefully crafted, and deeply felt verse to capture these different voices.


This rehearsed reading, directed by the innovative director Simone Vause, was performed by five actors, including:


Lynx Theatre and Poetry commissioned the production to mark the anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire and to raise funds for the victims, since, as the poem predicted, “the promises break and we are betrayed”, and many families have still not been properly re-housed.


Click on the image to access a jpeg of the A5 flyer, or click here for a pdf.

This video is of Tayo Aluko, celebrated creator of Call Mr Robeson, reading part of the 'Victims' section of May Days during the rehearsals for the performance on 16 June 2018 at The Playground Theatre.

This video is of Tayo Aluko singing 'Gospel Plough', also known as 'Keep Your Eyes on the Prize' accompanied by the cast of May Days. The images come from the demonstration, which also took place on 16 June 2018, in support of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

To comments and reviews of May Days

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