If the land on which Battersea Power Station was built could speak, what stories would it tell? That was the question posed in our production of the ‘Power and The People’ which was performed on June 17th as part of the Wandsworth Arts Fringe Festival 2023.
Beginning in 1850 ‘The Power and the People’ brought to life the eventful history of Battersea Power Station and the surrounding area through the stories of people whose home or working lives have been interwoven with it.
The transformation of Battersea from a market gardening area in the 1800s to the area it is today is testament to the many nationalities who came to live and work in the borough. From the Huguenots fleeing persecution in France, to the Irish escaping famine in the nineteenth century, to the Polish who settled here in the post-war years alongside those from the Commonwealth and other lands.
Drama and first-person testimonies were used to re-tell some of those stories – of hardship, migration, and personal achievement.
Here are what some of our audience said about it:
“I thought that the best bits was seeing the photos of the areas that I was brought up in. The actor who played the power station, talking about things from the power’s station’s perspective, that was fascinating. Coming from an Irish background I found the going back to the very beginning really interesting.”
“A superbly scripted and presented spectacle. Enthralling. Congratulations to all concerned. I was especially moved by your in depth exposition of the challenges faced by Polish emigres and how they were treated in the aftermath of the new post war reality.”
“We really enjoyed it -very entertaining I liked the mixed media, I loved the acting, the actors were fantastic. Very amusing and the mixture of social history and political history was really interesting. The local stuff was new to us and it was really fascinating. You connected a lot with it rather than it being a set piece. Really, really good fun.”
“When I heard the Fields of Athenry at the start, (that always makes me go, makes me tearful) I thought that this is going to be a really tragic play but it was quite good fun in the end.”
“And audible and visual delight.”
“Brilliant. Absolutely loved it. Great diversity. Class distinctions, built in the hard labour. It should be seen more widely showcased to the local community. Should be taken on by someone- shouldn’t end today.”