Edinburgh Fringe musical looks at 1911 not 9/11
- 15 August 2011
- From the section Scotland
The world will next month remember the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 atrocities in New York.
But 100 years ago another disaster rocked the city.
A new musical, From the Fire, at the Zoo Roxy as part of the Edinburgh Fringe, remembers the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911.
There were 146 immigrant women, mostly Jewish and Italian, killed as they tried to escape the blaze.
Many were forced to jumped from the upper floors.
The production dramatises the fire and also looks at the earlier uprising which saw 20,000 young women in New York stage a significant strike for the first time.
It celebrates the part the women played in labour reform but also draws parallels with the perilous conditions in which many people still work today.
Actress Teddy Roger said: "Many were 16-year-old girls. They were very young but they had endured so much, even before coming to America.
"They came to New York with the dream of a better life."
But that dream turned sour when fire ripped through the building.
Surrounded by fabric and with no fire escapes, many of the women were trapped.
Director Cecilia Rubino said: "Particularly the workers on the 9th floor had no way to get out.
"They were trapped and to the horror of their fellow New Yorkers they stood on the window ledges of the 9th floor with the flames coming at them and many of them chose to jump.
"They chose to jump, not just individually, they held hands.
"Some of them, three or four at a time."
The horror of the blaze shocked the city into action.
New health and safety laws were passed.
Bonnie Roche, the producer of the show, said the women's pleas for change were heard in death.
She said: "It is a universal cry for everyone's sense of dignity for a valid life in this world."
Its creators hope to not just commemorate the women of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory but to leave a legacy in a continuing campaign against modern-day sweatshops.