We recently launched Bread & Roses Rapid Response which is a  partnership between studioSTRIKE and BBC writersroom. We are looking for short scripts inspired by the Bread & Roses Centennial 1912-2012.

Dignity. A hundred years ago, women and immigrant textile workers changed history when they spontaneously downed tools to go on strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Their struggle for dignity became known as the “Bread and Roses” strikes, after a James Oppenheim poem they would sing in the streets.

“As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!”
 
Public readings were key to the campaign. In narrow tenements they would meticulously translate intructions, speeches and progress into 20 languages for the 45 nationalities of the workers. The texts were read in public – most of the workers were illiterate.  

We want scripts that encapsulate the principles of dignity for worker, women’s rights, community, capitalism and immigration – themes as significant in our time as they were in 1912. Your narrative need not necessarily be set in a historical context, it need not be set in a factory, involve a strike. It can be set in any part of the world at any moment in time. Think how you can connect the Bread and Roses themes to contemporary narratives, from unpaid internships to migrant workers, from glass ceiling for female employees to child workers.  Remember you only have 10 minutes to tell your story, keep it simple but do not be afraid to tackle stories and issues that you feel strongly towards.

Guarding approach to mills

Image courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division.

As part of the Centennial studioSTRIKE in partnership with Directors from the Young Vic’s Genesis Directors Programme there will be staged public performances, readings and recordings of the scripts.

The Bread and Roses strikes were momentarily lost to history, and yet it is hard to overemphasise their significance. They tackled misrepresentations surrounding women, immigrants and unskilled workers by proving that they were fully able to organize and mobilize themselves into the labour movement.

Carruso Ettor Giovanni

Image courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division. 
 

Elizabeth Flynn

Image courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division. 

I’ll leave the last word to those that stood up for the textile workers:

“We, the 20,000 textile workers of Lawrence, are out on strike for the right to live free from slavery and starvation; free from overwork and underpay; free from a state of affairs that had become so unbearable and beyond our control, that we were compelled to march out of the slave pens of Lawrence in united resistance against the wrongs and injustice of years and years of wage slavery.” Proclamation of the strikers.

Blog by Afshin Dehkordi, Co-founder studioSTRIKE  

Bread & Roses Centennial Rapid Response is a partnership between BBC writersroom & studioSTRIKE.  You can find out more details of how to enter on our opportunities page.

To find out more about the key characters on both sides, the murder trial, the displacement of the children across the country see Studio Strike website

For more information on what judge, Paul Laverty, looks for in a story read his recent interview on IdeasTap

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  • Comment number 8. Posted by vijji

    on 27 Apr 2012 05:13

    Classical economic battle was on productive front of using limited resources for one or other or both...guns and roses. I was happy to see Bread replacing a gun. Hemingway pondered " for whom the bell tolls"...Far away here in india i am so happy to see that " creative canvass " is well preserved at your end and there still exit world or space where there are opportunity for creative people...Pl keep it up

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  • Comment number 7. Posted by Fiona

    on 5 Apr 2012 11:12

    Hey guys,

    Apologies for this - there was a problem with the opportunities section of our website yesterday which has now been sorted out.

    The page is back up again, here's the link:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunities/bread-and-roses-rapid-response

    The email address to submit your entries to is writersroom.rapids@bbc.co.uk.

    Best of luck to all of you!

  • Comment number 6. Posted by Kathy

    on 5 Apr 2012 09:22

    Thanks Hehir! I will get on with it. Good luck! Cheers.

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  • Comment number 5. Posted by Hehir

    on 4 Apr 2012 18:41

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/about/bread-and-roses-terms-and-conditions

    try this - it worked for me and I got the details but just in case;
    Entries must be emailed as a word file, final draft document or PDF with the subject heading ‘Bread & Roses Centennial Rapid Response with Paul Laverty’ to the following address: writersroom.rapids@bbc.co.uk.

    A script for stage, film, TV, radio or online – up to a maximum of 10 page/minutes in length

    - Entrants must specify their name and the title of their script on the cover page of their script.

    - The script must be legibly typed and formatted. In standard screenplay format one page roughly equals one minute of screen time, whereas in radio one page can represent less than one minute of airtime.

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  • Comment number 4. Posted by Kathy

    on 4 Apr 2012 17:21

    Error 404 - Page not found
    This might be because:
    You have typed the web address incorrectly, or
    the page you were looking for may have been moved, updated or deleted.
    This is what you get at the moment!

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  • Comment number 3. Posted by Kathy

    on 4 Apr 2012 17:19

    Would someone please put the Bread and Roses submission info back on the website? It is still not there! Thanks.

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  • Comment number 2. Posted by Hehir

    on 4 Apr 2012 15:35

    Your link on the blog goes through to a page not found.

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  • Comment number 1. Posted by Hehir

    on 4 Apr 2012 15:30

    The email to enter the competition has disappeared from the opportunities page unless I jsut can't see it anymore. Just finished the play and now keen to get it sent before the deadline. I jst need the email and the details on what I need to send eg. name address /title etc. Thanks

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