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Francesca Isherwood plays Linda in Humane - pic Ali Wright

New play tells the tale of the 'Battle of Brightlingsea'

A new play based around the live exports demonstrations in Brightlingsea – dubbed the 'Battle of Brightlingsea' – 25 years ago opens in London next month.

Humane covers a time when the town saw months of disruption as protesters sought to prevent trucks carrying live animals– often protected by hundreds of police – from reaching the wharf and being shipped overseas.

Publicity material for the play says it "sheds light on the nearly forgotten story of a small community, their struggle for justice and the unshakeable friendships they made during the Battle of Brightlingsea. In 1995, lorries thundered through a small port town carrying live animals in horrendous conditions and motley crew of grandmothers, housewives and school children took to the streets in a series of demonstrations."

Based on interviews with those who took part in the protests, the play, which started out as an audio drama , focuses on "an unlikely group of local women took on an increasingly brutal police presence and the behemoth of the agricultural industry to become remarkable activists".

Playwright Polly Creed told Brightlingsea Info: "I grew up in Essex, close to Brightlingsea, and knew some of the people who had been directly involved and was amazed by this extraordinary piece of local history. The more I researched, there emerged layers of issues: the intersection of class, race and gender within activism, policing, and even Brexit. At a time when politics is far from simple this multi- layered, knotty, wriggly story was exactly the kind I wanted to put onstage."

Humane runs from November 3-24 at The Pleasance theatre in North London. For more information, click here.

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