Sylvia has good curriculum relevance, especially for History,
The play is 45 minutes long with an opportunity for pupils to talk to the
writer and performer afterwards.
The play covers Sylvia Pankhurst's life as an artist and suffragette up to the end of the First World War.
It uses over 250 slides including:
archive material from a dozen libraries and museums
almost all Sylvia Pankhurst’s extant paintings
specially commissioned photographs of Venice, Manchester and London.
Background notes and a reading list will be provided on booking the show.
The play can be booked for performance at schools by contacting
Lynx Theatre and Poetry at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at: 01366 500799
History (Key Stage 3)
Based on Syvia Pankhurst's The Suffragette Movement, Sylvia gives an understanding of the causes and chronology of the struggle for women’s suffrage at the start of the twentieth century. As a live performance, it also personalises the issues and the consequences of the actions of the WSPU and the government. The play shows how Sylvia Pankhurst campaigned, and why she herself made the decision to commit her life to the political struggle of women. It raises the question of which tactics were best for advancing the struggle. No wonder that the Worcester Evening News said of Sylvia that "History is brought to life".
The opportunity to talk to the writer and performer afterwards gives pupils the chance to raise questions about what Sylvia Pankhurst would think about women's position today. Jacqueline Mulhallen not only has teaching and academic qualifications, but is very well informed both about this period and about political activism today. She will encourage pupils to think critically, to challenge the evidence, and to develop their own perspective and judgement.
"I was the first woman in the North West to be head of a big mixed comprehensive school in 1974. I’ve been retired for almost 30 years. What a pity! You would most certainly have been working in my school. Well done!"
"... well researched and a sensitive portrayal of my mother as a young woman and artist"
Citizenship (Key Stages 3 & 4)
Sylvia shows Sylvia Pankhurst's intense involvement in the political struggle for votes for women and for their greater involvement in democratic government. It explores the issues of campaigning, including the role of citizens, the police and the courts. It also looks at the question of political prisoners and the hunger strike (as well as the sleep and thirst strike which Sylvia invented). All these issues are personal ones for the character, and so become personal for the audience too.
The opportunity to talk to the writer and performer afterwards gives pupils the chance to discuss these issues and to raise further questions about Sylvia Pankhurst's views on campaigning, on fascism and racism (her paper was the first in Britain to employ a black journalist), and on women's position today. Jacqueline Mulhallen not only has teaching and academic qualifications, but is very well informed both about this period and about political activism today. She will encourage pupils to think critically, to challenge the evidence, and to develop their own perspective and judgement.
Art and design (Key Stage 3)
Sylvia Pankhurst was a highly talented artist and a designer who won numerous scholarships including one to study in Venice for a year. She used a number of styles, echoing those of Walter Crane, William Morris and late 19th century European artists like Vincent van Gogh. Her series of paintings of working women was probably the first to address women in their role as workers and individuals, rather than as symbols or objects. Sylvia particularly explores the conflict within the artist as activist when it comes to working "for the workers of the future".
The play offers the opportunity to see nearly all Sylvia Pankhurst's extant paintings, and to discuss the issues with the writer and performer, who has both teaching and academic qualifications, and had an article about Sylvia's art published in the Women's History magazine in 2009.