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Old photos reveal long-forgotten dramatics of factory workers  

Archive photographs from the 1920s showing huge theatre productions put on by Cadbury’s factory workers have been uncovered.

The rare snaps show outdoor performances staged at the chocolate factory’s recreation ground in Bournville and include ambitious plays with casts of hundreds.

Pantomimes, sketches and dramas with elaborate costumes and staging were all put on by workers to entertain their colleagues and families from 1900-1930s.

Now the photographs will be brought to life by Professor Catherine Hindson who has written a book about the performances at Cadbury’s, which this year is celebrating its 200th anniversary.

The University of Bristol Professor will hold a heritage talk at Selly Manor Museum, which was founded by George Cadbury, to share stories behind the extravagant productions.

Daniel Callicott, Heritage Manager at Bournville Village Trust, which manages the Museum in Bournville, said: “These images are fantastic and really bring to life the scale and commitment that went into putting on these huge plays and productions.

“We can’t wait to welcome Professor Hindson to the museum in July to hear more about them and the role they played in not just entertaining workers and their families, but in helping to develop a thriving new community in Bournville.”

Professor Catherine Hindson said: “In the first decades of the twentieth century sports, leisure, and entertainment were part of day-to-day Cadbury’s life.

“Amidst this culture of work and play, an astonishing amount of factory theatre was staged involving tens of thousands of Cadbury’s employees. Home-grown Bournville casts and audiences were supplemented by performers, civic leaders, playwrights, academics, town planners, and celebrities.

“In Theatre in the Chocolate Factory I uncover stories of Bournville’s theatre, exploring the involvement of the firm’s women leaders in Cadbury’s creativity and positioning theatre at the heart of the factory’s operation.”

The Chocolate Factory Stage talk with Professor Catherine Hindson will take place on Thursday 18th July from 7pm-8.30pm at Selly Manor Museum, Maple Rd, Bournville, B30 2AE.

Tickets are £7 per person including refreshments and can be booked by calling Selly Manor Museum on 0121 472 0199.

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