Banner Theatre: Chicago - The Great Teachers' Strike *

Banner Theatre: Chicago - The Great Teachers' Strike *

14th September 2016

As battle lines are drawn across the United States between the corporate elite and the mass of the population, the Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) and their community allies joined together to fight for public sector education. Their demand was for an education that teaches children to think, create and challenge and not provide zombie labour for the profit machine.

Chicago tells the story of the 2012 CTU’s strike and explores their successful organising agenda that empowered their members and mobilised parents, students and the wider community. That agenda produced a strike vote of 98% on a 90% turnout, 9 days of mass pickets, creative sit-ins and demonstrations covering 840 schools across the city, and hundreds of thousands of vocal and active supporters. As a result, the CTU and their allies managed to stall the corporate onslaught and develop a fighting agenda demonstrating that another education system is possible.

The story of the strike is seen through the eyes of teachers, parents and local community members at the Social Justice High School (SoJo) in Little Village, Chicago. SoJo was established in 2001 when parents went on hunger strike demanding a decent school in their area that reflected the needs of the local community.

‘Why? Why, in a time when we are literally building stadiums downtown Chicago with taxpayer money, do people still have to starve to get a basic school for their children?’

The campaign was successful and SoJo was built after community members canvassed the opinions and views of local residents as to the kind of school they wanted their children to attend.

‘That's what an ideal school system will look like, where you actually have a school system where parents, teachers and students have a say in the curriculum and the direction of that building, of that school.’

Weaving together music, song and inspirational video footage and interviews, Chicago provides compelling lessons for both educational and broader public sector resistance here in the UK.

Produced with financial support from the NUT, to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of Colchester Trades Union Council in 2016.

First class songs and satire rooted in the experiences of ordinary people. They make us laugh, they make us cry, they make us angry, they make us think.“
Paul Mackney, Ex-Joint General Secretary, UCU

Banner Theatre has a 40-year track record of creating powerful, punchy productions in collaboration with trade unions and other campaigning organisations.

Chicago, The Great Teachers Strike review:

Promo video:

More about the show:

Tickets £10 / £5 concessions.
Doors open 7.30pm, show starts 8pm.

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