The adaptable Hope Mill Theatre hosted the one woman show inspired by the life of Eva Moorhead Kadalie the wife of Clements Kadalie first black national trade union leader from South Africa.
Shareesa Valentine whose stage and tv credits include Band of Gold, Hollyoaks, The Syndicate, Dumping Ground and Last Tango in Halifax played Eva a strong South African woman who was reflecting on her life and the transitions through the voices in her head that had been forgotten or suppressed that made her the female she was just before she was about to embark on the last journey to a new life in England with her son Victor.
‘Forgotten Voices’ was written by David Moorhead the grandson of Eva who stated in an interview “My grandmother was glamorous and warm hearted but beneath lay a complex person, who struggles were immense. Her political contribution in terms of support and sacrifice were great but completely ignored. I felt it was time to hear and celebrate the story of Eva Moorhead Kadalie”.
The play starts with Eva ready to set sail to a new life following the death of her beloved husband Clements Kadalie who rose to world-wide fame as general secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union of Africa (ICU). He was Southern Africa’s first major black trade union leader, widely hailed as a “Moses” of his people, his trade union demanded minimum wages, decent working conditions, and the right of all workers to freely migrate between town and country, and between states, regardless of race, nationality, skill or sex. Kadalie unionised black workers in their hundreds of thousands, leading several strikes, and winning numerous court battles and wage increases.
Directed by Margaret Connell, the play depicts Eva’s life from the child of 10 years old searching for love from her white father Robert Joseph Moorhead who rejects her for the colour of her skin. Throughout the play we are taken to different stages of Eva’s life reflecting on the struggles, regrets, the joys and the sacrifices she makes to reach her goals and desire to be by her man’s side.
The staging was simple but effective, there was however difficulties with sound as it was hard to hear the spoken dialogue as no voice amplifiers were used. Hope Mill Theatre was the perfect venue for the play with its intimate space and rustic décor.
Shareesa Valentine delivered a sterling performance who seamlessly took you through the journey of this strong women ahead of her times.
The play is perfect to represent October’s ‘Black History Month’ with the objective to help society understand that the struggle for freedom and equality took decades and continues today. https://hopemilltheatre.co.uk/events/forgotten-voices
Well done to all involved.
Reviewer: Katie Leicester
Reviewed: 18th October 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★