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November 8, 2014 / basabbott

Keeping the Red Flag Flying

The strains of The Red Flag rang out at Thetford Grammar School, as Diss Museum continued its association with EyesWrite.
The group, formed by Alan Huckle to encourage local writers, give readings and make recordings.
When the Common Sense Club, an offshoot of Thetford’s Tom Paine Festival, met for the last time, EyesWrite presented a playlet about The Burston Strike.
Alan Huckle, Basil Abbott and Felicity Humfress dramatised the story of the village children walking out, a century ago, in support of their dismissed, Socialist teachers.
Colin Armes spoke about Kett’s rebellion, Mike Levy talked about adapting history; and John Weeks spoke about Paine in literature.
Diss Museum has worked closely with Thetford since both commemorated Thomas Paine in 2009.

Afterwards there was a most appreciative letter from John Weeks:

“I failed to catch up with EyesWrite at the end of Friday’s meeting, and I hope that you will pass on to them/share with them the appreciation of the Common Sense Club for their contribution on the Burston Strike.

It was a privilege to welcome the Diss cultural world into Old School and, of course, highly appropriate given Basil’s seminal work, seeding the whole Tom Paine Bicentenary process. In at the beginning, indeed being the beginning – and in at the end (at least this particular end).

Never may have the Red Flag been sung so fervently in an independent school, other of course than the Burston Strike School. The reading crisply gave us the historical facts and a real flavour of the class conflict and the personalities involved.(George Eliot, for one, would have appreciated it). It set a high bar for the second half of our evening, with pace and direction, music and drama. Many thanks to the three readers for bringing their subject alive. And very good wishes indeed for the many future projects in which, I know, you will be engaged.”



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