A play by Francis Beckett

Epstein Theatre, Liverpool | 26-27 September 2022

After three sold-out runs in London, Francis Beckett's seminal play about Labour's most successful Prime Minister is coming to Labour Party Conference in Liverpool.

“A very funny and at times moving account of Clement Attlee” - New Statesman

“Beckett’ renders all the affectionately drawn key characters accessible, engaging and inspiring” - Morning Star

“A splendid illustration of Attlee’s towering absence of ego” - Broadway World

“A splendid illustration of Attlee’s towering absence of ego” - Broadway World

How labour built the welfare state.

May 1945. Britain celebrates victory over Hitler and cheer Winston Churchill. But things have changed. The poor don't want to go back to the way things were. They remember the thirties. It was a time of poverty, unemployment, starvation, in the midst of ostentatious wealth.

They don't want that again. The men and women who fought the war want a better world. They want the rich to pay a bit more, so the poor can suffer a bit less. They want a national health service. Pay when they're unemployed, so their families don't starve. Education for everyone, so that no one grows up unable to read or write. They want the Labour Party to deliver it.

But Labour is led by a nonentity - "a modest little man with plenty to be modest about." He says almost nothing. He sits in his grey suit and puffs his pipe. One wit remarked: "An empty taxi drew up and Clement Attlee got out." No charisma, no revolutionary passion. Even if, by some miracle, he wins an election against the great Winston Churchill, this grey little man can't make a revolution.

There's no hope. There's nothing in him. Is there?

Watch the trailer.

francis beckett.

Francis Beckett is an author, journalist, broadcaster, playwright and contemporary historian. His 19 books include biographies of four Prime Ministers including a critically acclaimed biography of Attlee).

His other plays include Money Makes You Happy (2008) and The Right Honourable Lady (2009), which had successful London fringe runs. The Sons of Catholic Gentlemen won the Independent Radio Drama Productions award, and Claim and Shame, a play about the MPs’ expenses scandal, was produced at the Theatre 503.

As a journalist he has written regularly for the New Statesman, the Guardian, The Times, The Express and many others. He was awarded the Ted Wragg award for lifetime achievement in education journalism.

He has been president of the National Union of Journalists, edited the magazine of the University of the Third Age, and has worked for trade unions and for the Labour Party.

the epstein theatre, liverpool.

The Epstein Theatre - renovated in 2012 - is a magestic venue named after the former Beatles manager Brian Epstein. It's situated opposite Liverpool station and a short walk from where Labour Party Conference will take place in the Liverpool Arena.

The Epstein Theatre

Hanover House, 85 Hanover Street

Liverpool L1 3DZ

Box office - 0844 888 9991

Ⓒ Beckett Productions Ltd, 2022