The Angry Brigade was a small cell of left-wing, anti-elitist urban guerillas in 1970s Britain.
It emerged in a society blighted by government cuts, high unemployment, austerity measures and deregulation, at a time of global political and cultural upheaval: riots and revolutions, the black-power and women’s lib movements, protests against the war in Vietnam.
Carrying out a series of bombings that targeted property rather than people, they attacked high-profile symbols of the “class enemy”: the embassies of far-right regimes, the homes of Conservative MPs, banks, police stations – even the BBC’s outside broadcast unit covering the Miss World pageant.
Blending fact and fiction, James Graham’s whip-smart comedy-thriller focuses on the opposing sides of the conflict.
In a basement office at Scotland Yard, four police officers are trying to work out who’s blowing up high-profile targets. In a filthy squat in north London, four young anarchists are plotting the revolution. But perspectives shift and change with unexpected outcomes.
Neither a history play nor a biopic, The Angry Brigade sheds light on our contemporary times, with many social, economic and political similarities between the two periods, and investigates the nature of protest and of political discontent.
“Though set in the 1970s, the characters could just as easily be active today,” says New Theatre’s Artistic Director Lou Fischer. “These are young, idealistic people from very different backgrounds, who have strong feelings about what they think their society should be like, and take steps to change things.
“It’s disturbingly relevant given the way the establishment continues to ignore the voices of the young when making decisions for short term gain that will impact on the future of this world, especially when they won’t be around to see the criminal damage they have done. Witness the intense criticism of the young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg by ‘the powers that be’.”