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Sylvia Pankhurst has been called “the greatest Englishwoman of the twentieth century”.

Sylvia tells the story of her youth, starting in her childhood in a radical Man­chester family when she longed to become an artist “in the service of social betterment” and won three art scholarships, including one to Venice. 


But, after her mother (Emmeline) and sister (Christabel) had founded the Women's Social and Political Union, she gave up her art to rouse the women of the East End to fight for the vote.


Christabel threw her out of the W.S.P.U. because of her socialist ideas, but it was Sylvia who forced Asquith, the Prime Minister, to see a delegation of working women, and to concede that their argument was “moderate and well-reasoned”.


The Chainmaker by Sylvia Pankhurst
Jacqueline Mulhallen as Sylvia Pankhurst in SYLVIA. Photograph © William Alderson 2017.

Sylvia is a one woman show played against a background of 250 slides, including

  • photographs taken specially on location in England and Europe

  • original photographs of almost all Sylvia's paintings

  • photographs gathered from nine local, national and international picture libraries, showing some of the leading figures, events and places of the suffragette movement.


Photo of San Marco, Venice

The performance can be followed by an audience discussion led by Jacqueline Mulhallen,  the author and actress.


Lynx Theatre and Poetry first performed Sylvia in 1987. It played for more than 100 performances in theatres, art centres, schools and other venues across England and Ireland, and there has been constant demand for its revival. Now Lynx is supporting a new updated production, but with the original actress still playing Sylvia. 


The play can be booked for performance at schools or public venues by contacting Lynx Theatre and Poetry at:    or by phone at:   01366 500799

Lynx was invited to contribute a piece on Sylvia to Parliament's Vote100 blog, and you can read it here.

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