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MOST of the trade unions in Britain, it seems, have backed the new touring production of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists which comes to South Shields this week.

'Philanthropy' is a word beloved of Conservative politicians who believe private funding should replace public subsidy.

The philanthropists of Robert Tressell's classic socialist novel are the decorators who sweat blood to renovate a rich man's house. Rather than donate money, they give away their labour.

Tressell died in 1911 and is buried in a pauper's grave but his book is a fine memorial.

Having acquired rights to Stephen Lowe's 1978 stage adaptation, director Louise Townsend is touring the show with a cast of two, Neil Gore and Fine Time Fontayne (aka Ian Crossley).

"The abiding impression is one of how much is different from that time to now, but how little has changed," suggests Townsend.

See the play at the Customs House, South Shields, tonight and on Wednesday. Tickets: 0191 454 1234 or
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 12, 2013
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