The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Actor Neil Gore brings Robert Tressell’s humorous and absorbing book to life in his lively one-man show.  With projected animation & fantastic story telling there’s something for all the family here, not least the chance to become acquainted with this timeless story of socialism and political awakening.

Based on Tressell’s 1914 novel, this enduring and entertaining classic story of Edwardian painters is set in the building trades of Edwardian England where painters and decorators struggle to maintain themselves and their families, poverty and the constant fear of unemployment notwithstanding, while renovating a large townhouse for the local mayor.

“What’s so special about the book, and what to expect from the play, is how it relates so closely to everyone’s experience of work: the workplace hierarchy; petty and amusing incidents of workplace rivalry; workers’ good-natured humour and banter; hostility to political change and the acceptance of greed as inevitable and a natural way of life.

“All these aspects of life will be portrayed through theatrical tricks, songs, Magic Lantern projection and skilled performance of lively, relevant characterisation and rich storytelling offering a good night out for all.” – Neil Gore

The book provides a comprehensive picture of social, political, economic and cultural life in Britain at a time when socialism was beginning to gain ground. It was around that time that the Labour Party was founded and began to win seats in the House of Commons.

An explicitly political work, the novel is widely regarded as a classic of working-class literature.  As of 2003, it had sold over one million copies: George Orwell described it as “a book that everyone should read”, and Ken Loach said this about the theatre version: “A strong and robust show that brings the characters, humour and inspirational ideas of this great book to life. It is needed now more than ever.”


Tech detail:   tickets £12.50:  students £9.00   On line only

Tuesday 10 August   7.30pm


Aug 10 2021


Door time: 6:45pm
7:30 pm



More Info



Foxlowe Arts Centre
Market Place, Leek, Staffordshire, ST13 6AD