Current iIssues

DEN Meets ‘Sylvia’

Tuesday, April 4th marked the day when the members of the Democratic Education Network (DEN) went to see the phenomenal act, ‘Sylvia’, a musical play that takes you back in time to pre-World War I Britain, during a time of political unrest due to the Suffragette movement’s demands to give women the right to vote. The play intends to speak on the lesser known of the Pankhurst women, Sylvia Pankhurst, and her struggle between following her mother and older sister, Emmeline and Christabel, in the fight for suffrage, or that of paving her path in a way that aligns with her values for a democratic and violence-free future.

Her story highlights the effects of the death of her father, followed by that of her younger brother, Harry, and that of her pseudo-lover, Keir Hardie, all the while juggling the conflict within herself regarding the ends that both she and her family want to achieve – women’s rights to vote – and the completely different means she wants to instigate said change. Ultimately, she parts ways with her family’s movement and creates her own within the Labour Party, centred around the need for the visibility of not only the higher members of society but, for that, both working-class women and men.m The play features a live band that is to thank for the jaw-dropping music and atmosphere created on stage, as well as the choreographies and lyrics that are paced similarly to that of ‘Hamilton’, another historical play. The actors played well, and the singing capabilities blew DEN away. The transitions, such as time skips, were obvious yet blended well with the atmosphere at any one point in the play, and the

Using the projector screen in the back of the stage served as a compelling contextual clue for audience members to look back to. Many of the DEN members exclaimed how, despite being students who participate in political discussions daily, they were entirely unaware of the existence of Sylvia Pankhurst or her story. This opens up discussions on the importance of media having a duty to remind us of our history, especially regarding people who have become lost to time, but their good deeds continue to echo.

Students enjoyed the play, the significance of history and social movements, and its achievements, especially for women’s rights.

Alessia C. Diaconescu

Here are reflections on students’ experiences, 


I had a wonderful experience as I had not been to a musical before. I did not read or know anything about it; it was such a surprise, and I hope we can go and see a play again.


I had not seen many musicals, and it was fantastic. I especially liked the band; they were phenomenal. DEN always finds the most contemporary and mind-boggling events partly because it comprises students who care about politics and day-to-day issues around us. Events like this allow me to think broader and, at the same time, deeper! Thank you, DEN!


Absolutely beautiful and very inspiring. Using the stage and objects to bring different parts of the story to life, especially during the singing and dancing parts, was fantastic!  I really like how diverse the cast was, believe it or not, this is the first musical I’ve been to where the lead was an African woman, which was really nice to see.


I had never experienced a live musical before, and my first one was upbeat and informative. It made me go away and look further into Sylvia Pankhurst and voting laws in British history.

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