On Monday November 7th, Dare Devil Rides to Jarama by Neil Gore comes to the Theatre Royal Margate as part of its world premiere tour.
The production commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War.
When Spaniards rose up to resist General Franco’s military rebellion in 1936, it was an inspiration to millions of people worldwide who took up arms against fascism.
Looking at the powerful political and economic forces that engulfed 1930s Europe, Dare Devil Rides to Jarama follows why so many ordinary people made the extraordinary choice to leave family and livelihoods and fight in a brutal war so far from home.
One of those people was CLEM BECKETT, the “Dare Devil” in the play.
Beckett was born in Oldham in 1906 and became a blacksmith at a time of the depression and mass unemployment. He was victimised at work and became a communist.
Motorbikes were his passion and he supplemented his income by riding the infamous fairground ride, the “wall of death” – a barrel-shaped cylinder, about 25 foot across, made from rickety wooden planks.
His motorcycling skills were legendary and soon got involved in speedway racing, a highly dangerous sport in which many young riders died or were seriously injured.
Beckett helped set up a trade unon for the riders called the Dirt Track Riders Association to try to make the sport safer
In 1932 he took part in the legendary Kinder Trespass, in which protestors took to the countryside calling for public access to the private grouse moors.
Ultimately this would lead to the establishment of the national parks and more access to the countryside for ordinary people.
In 1935 Becket was one of the first people to volunteer to fight in the international brigades on the republican side in the Spanish civil war.
But in 1937 he and his friend, the Marxist poet Christopher Caudwell, the other main character in the drama, came to a bloody end. They took control of a light machine-gun post at a strategic point at what later became known as Suicide Hill and died fighting against terrible odds.
This funny and compelling show by Townsend Productions’ follows on from other acclaimed productions including United We Stand, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists and We Will Be Free.
‘DARE Devil Rides to Jarama is quite simply the best political theatre produced for a long, long time.’ – Morning Star
Dare Devil Rides to Jarama is at Theatre Royal Margate on November 7th at 7.30pm.
Tickets available online at theatreroyalmargate.com, in person at the Winter Gardens or via the box office on 01843 292795