Made in Dagenham Characterisations

“Made in Dagenham”  CHARACTER OUTLINES  – FEMALE ROLES

RITA O’GRADY:

An average working class mum.  Married to Eddie for 10 years.  Mother to 10 year old Graham and 6 year old Sharon.  Just another machinist at Dagenham Ford Factory -­‐ likeable with a good sense of humour.  Initially content to stay in the sidelines she has no intention of taking on a leadership role and is somewhat intimidated by authority (and lacks belief in her ability to do so).  Though uneducated (and not ‘well spoken’) she speaks from the heart and goes on a journey of self-­‐discovery where she finds an inner passion, confidence and resolve that drives her to fight for the cause.   Solo singing: Several big solo songs.

BARBARA CASTLE:

Able to capture something of the quality of this well-­‐ known politician.  West Yorkshire accent (brought up in Pontefract and Bradford).  Self-­‐assured, fiesty, strong.  Likeable, but does not mince her words or flinch at holding her own against the men.  Torn between her fierce commitment to the working classes (and women’s rights) and balancing the countries books at the time of the strikes.  Strong Belt Voice, Occasional appearances in some ensemble songs.

BERYL:

Funny, foul-­‐mouthed, factory worker. Leads the machinists’ factory floor ‘banter’ and would be the first to come out with a dirty joke or ‘touch up’ the apprentice boys.  Ballsy, bolshie and inappropriate, she has a massive heart and is very well-­‐loved with her self-­‐ deprecating humour (when she’s not pissing everyone off).  Solo singing: Female ensemble and occasional solo lines in the girls’ songs

CONNIE RILEY:

Has dedicated her life to the Labour Party and representing the rights of the factory women but is tired and disillusioned about what she’s been able to achieve in the face of male opposition.  Unmarried.  Strong-­‐principled, she has the quiet passion to convince Rita to lead the strike.  During the show she is diagnosed with breast cancer and dies.

LISA HOPKINS:

Cambridge graduate – well-­‐spoken, eloquent with RP accent but not at all a ‘snob’. Intelligent, human, compassionate and unhappy in marriage where she is caught in the role of dinner party hosting wife.  Longs for a career and intellectual stimulation, she is passionate about women’s rights, starts a petition to stop caning in her son’s school and befriends Rita.

CLARE:

Low in ambition she is saving up to get a flat and marry Ken. Not the smartest tool in the box she enjoys a giggle at the rude jukes bandied about. Is well meaning but totally inarticulate (comically, can never find the right words).

SANDRA BEAUMONT:

Young, attractive and keen to make the most of her looks. She confidently ‘plays the field’ but would like to bag a man who could keep her in nice things.  When strapped for cash in the strike she takes some modeling work dancing at the Cortina launch, but the girls convince her to re-­‐join their side.

CASS:  Ambitious and the most sensible and down to earth of the girls. Is frustrated in her work and (idealistically) wants to be an airline pilot.

“Made in Dagenham” CHARACTER OUTLINES – MALE ROLES

EDDIE O’GRADY:

Rita’s husband.  Unskilled factory worker at Ford. An ordinary, likeable, working-­‐class bloke. Happy-­‐go-­‐lucky and a bit of a joker.  Loves Rita, but is ‘one of the lads’ and would expect his ‘tea on the table’.  However, he is a decent guy and tries his best to be supportive when the strike starts by helping, in his incompetent way, around the house.  Under stress, he turns against Rita and walks out with the kids, before a final change of heart when he stands by her side.

HAROLD WILSON:

Able to capture something of the quality of this this well-­‐known politician.  West Yorkshire accent (born Huddersfield).  Is played as something of a comic buffoon in the show.  He is as chauvinistic as the time would suggest and slightly clueless.  He is struggling to find a solution to the country’s many problems at the time.

MONTY:

UVB conveyor (National Union of Vehicle Builders). Working class factory worker and Union steward who represent the girls at Dagenham – good-­‐hearted and quietly unassuming.  He wants to support the girls as he believes in their cause, but isn’t particularly assertive with the management and doesn’t want to swim against the tide.  Had a fling with Connie in the past and secretly still holds a torch for her. Broken hearted when she dies and feels he’s let everyone down.

JEREMY HOPKINS:

Ford Dagenham Managing Director  Ex-­‐public school, university-­‐educated and well spoken (RP accent).  A conformer who wants an easy life and a submissive wife who will support him in his corporate career.  Predominately a non-­‐singing role.

MR TOOLEY:

Ford Executive from Texas USA. Good singer with a strong presence. American accent. Confident, powerful, arrogant, insulting. Speaks over everyone in a bullish way but can also be subtly sinister. Doesn’t get the British sensitivity and expects everyone to and jump to his orders and the American way.

CORTINA MAN

‘Front man’ for the Cortina launch.  Cheesy, charming, insincere and attractive.  The definitive ‘car salesman’.

RON MACER:

Working-­‐class middle management. Sings as part of male ensemble.  Unhappiliy married he prefers to be at work than go home.

GREGORY HUBBLE:

Ford Dagenham Personnel Director.  Working-­‐class middle management.  Tooley calls him a ‘faggot’ and there might be some truth in that.  Sees himself as a bit of a comedian and is more likely to be cracking an inane joke in meetings rather than dealing with business.

BARRY:

Young Apprentice Toolmaker.  Gets all the stick from the girls in the sewing room.

SID:

Factory worker and union steward.  One of the factory workers on the shop floor who represents the ‘fitters’ and spouts half-­‐hearted Marxist banter.  But his priority is larking about and sharing a laugh about farting and football -­‐ a ‘double act’ with Bill.

BILL:

Factory worker and union steward. One of the factory workers on the shop floor who represents the ‘engineers’ but, like Sid, is more likely to be larking about and sharing sexist jokes. -­‐ a ‘double act’ with Sid.

PARLIAMENTARY AIDES:

Aides to Harold Wilson.  Strong harmony singer with good aptitude for movement and comedy.  Well-­‐spoken.

“Made in Dagenham”  CHARACTER OUTLINES – CHILDRENS ROLES

GRAHAM:     Rita & Eddie’s son. Essex accent. Has a scholarship to the local ‘posh’ school where he gets caned and is struggling a bit. He gets his sister to do his homework. His fathers’s son. Small amount of singing.  Playing age 10

SHARON:      Rita & Eddie’s daughter. Resourceful and confident. Wants to be a doctor, rather than conform to the expectations of the time. Does her brother’s homework for him (at a fee). Small amount of singing.   Playing age 8

+ Female Parts
“Made in Dagenham”  CHARACTER OUTLINES  – FEMALE ROLES

RITA O’GRADY:

An average working class mum.  Married to Eddie for 10 years.  Mother to 10 year old Graham and 6 year old Sharon.  Just another machinist at Dagenham Ford Factory -­‐ likeable with a good sense of humour.  Initially content to stay in the sidelines she has no intention of taking on a leadership role and is somewhat intimidated by authority (and lacks belief in her ability to do so).  Though uneducated (and not ‘well spoken’) she speaks from the heart and goes on a journey of self-­‐discovery where she finds an inner passion, confidence and resolve that drives her to fight for the cause.   Solo singing: Several big solo songs.

BARBARA CASTLE:

Able to capture something of the quality of this well-­‐ known politician.  West Yorkshire accent (brought up in Pontefract and Bradford).  Self-­‐assured, fiesty, strong.  Likeable, but does not mince her words or flinch at holding her own against the men.  Torn between her fierce commitment to the working classes (and women’s rights) and balancing the countries books at the time of the strikes.  Strong Belt Voice, Occasional appearances in some ensemble songs.

BERYL:

Funny, foul-­‐mouthed, factory worker. Leads the machinists’ factory floor ‘banter’ and would be the first to come out with a dirty joke or ‘touch up’ the apprentice boys.  Ballsy, bolshie and inappropriate, she has a massive heart and is very well-­‐loved with her self-­‐ deprecating humour (when she’s not pissing everyone off).  Solo singing: Female ensemble and occasional solo lines in the girls’ songs

CONNIE RILEY:

Has dedicated her life to the Labour Party and representing the rights of the factory women but is tired and disillusioned about what she’s been able to achieve in the face of male opposition.  Unmarried.  Strong-­‐principled, she has the quiet passion to convince Rita to lead the strike.  During the show she is diagnosed with breast cancer and dies.

LISA HOPKINS:

Cambridge graduate – well-­‐spoken, eloquent with RP accent but not at all a ‘snob’. Intelligent, human, compassionate and unhappy in marriage where she is caught in the role of dinner party hosting wife.  Longs for a career and intellectual stimulation, she is passionate about women’s rights, starts a petition to stop caning in her son’s school and befriends Rita.

CLARE:

Low in ambition she is saving up to get a flat and marry Ken. Not the smartest tool in the box she enjoys a giggle at the rude jukes bandied about. Is well meaning but totally inarticulate (comically, can never find the right words).

SANDRA BEAUMONT:

Young, attractive and keen to make the most of her looks. She confidently ‘plays the field’ but would like to bag a man who could keep her in nice things.  When strapped for cash in the strike she takes some modeling work dancing at the Cortina launch, but the girls convince her to re-­‐join their side.

CASS:  Ambitious and the most sensible and down to earth of the girls. Is frustrated in her work and (idealistically) wants to be an airline pilot.

+ Male Parts
“Made in Dagenham” CHARACTER OUTLINES – MALE ROLES

EDDIE O’GRADY:

Rita’s husband.  Unskilled factory worker at Ford. An ordinary, likeable, working-­‐class bloke. Happy-­‐go-­‐lucky and a bit of a joker.  Loves Rita, but is ‘one of the lads’ and would expect his ‘tea on the table’.  However, he is a decent guy and tries his best to be supportive when the strike starts by helping, in his incompetent way, around the house.  Under stress, he turns against Rita and walks out with the kids, before a final change of heart when he stands by her side.

HAROLD WILSON:

Able to capture something of the quality of this this well-­‐known politician.  West Yorkshire accent (born Huddersfield).  Is played as something of a comic buffoon in the show.  He is as chauvinistic as the time would suggest and slightly clueless.  He is struggling to find a solution to the country’s many problems at the time.

MONTY:

UVB conveyor (National Union of Vehicle Builders). Working class factory worker and Union steward who represent the girls at Dagenham – good-­‐hearted and quietly unassuming.  He wants to support the girls as he believes in their cause, but isn’t particularly assertive with the management and doesn’t want to swim against the tide.  Had a fling with Connie in the past and secretly still holds a torch for her. Broken hearted when she dies and feels he’s let everyone down.

JEREMY HOPKINS:

Ford Dagenham Managing Director  Ex-­‐public school, university-­‐educated and well spoken (RP accent).  A conformer who wants an easy life and a submissive wife who will support him in his corporate career.  Predominately a non-­‐singing role.

MR TOOLEY:

Ford Executive from Texas USA. Good singer with a strong presence. American accent. Confident, powerful, arrogant, insulting. Speaks over everyone in a bullish way but can also be subtly sinister. Doesn’t get the British sensitivity and expects everyone to and jump to his orders and the American way.

CORTINA MAN

‘Front man’ for the Cortina launch.  Cheesy, charming, insincere and attractive.  The definitive ‘car salesman’.

RON MACER:

Working-­‐class middle management. Sings as part of male ensemble.  Unhappiliy married he prefers to be at work than go home.

GREGORY HUBBLE:

Ford Dagenham Personnel Director.  Working-­‐class middle management.  Tooley calls him a ‘faggot’ and there might be some truth in that.  Sees himself as a bit of a comedian and is more likely to be cracking an inane joke in meetings rather than dealing with business.

BARRY:

Young Apprentice Toolmaker.  Gets all the stick from the girls in the sewing room.

SID:

Factory worker and union steward.  One of the factory workers on the shop floor who represents the ‘fitters’ and spouts half-­‐hearted Marxist banter.  But his priority is larking about and sharing a laugh about farting and football -­‐ a ‘double act’ with Bill.

BILL:

Factory worker and union steward. One of the factory workers on the shop floor who represents the ‘engineers’ but, like Sid, is more likely to be larking about and sharing sexist jokes. -­‐ a ‘double act’ with Sid.

PARLIAMENTARY AIDES:

Aides to Harold Wilson.  Strong harmony singer with good aptitude for movement and comedy.  Well-­‐spoken.

+ Childrens Parts
“Made in Dagenham”  CHARACTER OUTLINES – CHILDRENS ROLES

GRAHAM:     Rita & Eddie’s son. Essex accent. Has a scholarship to the local ‘posh’ school where he gets caned and is struggling a bit. He gets his sister to do his homework. His fathers’s son. Small amount of singing.  Playing age 10

SHARON:      Rita & Eddie’s daughter. Resourceful and confident. Wants to be a doctor, rather than conform to the expectations of the time. Does her brother’s homework for him (at a fee). Small amount of singing.   Playing age 8