Made in Dagenham (musical)

Made in Dagenham
The Musical
Music David Arnold
Lyrics Richard Thomas
Book Richard Bean
Setting Dagenham in 1968
Basis 2010 film Made in Dagenham written by
William Ivory
Premiere 5 November 2014 (2014-11-05): Adelphi Theatre
Productions 2014 West End

Made in Dagenham is a musical with music by David Arnold, lyrics by Richard Thomas, and a book by Richard Bean. Based on the 2010 film of the same name, which in turn was based on the real events of the Ford sewing machinists strike of 1968,[1] the musical made its West End and world premiere at the Adelphi Theatre in 2014.

The 2010 film received several award nominations, and the following year, it was announced that a musical was under development. Former Bond girl Gemma Arterton was cast in the role of Rita, a working woman and mother who becomes a union leader amidst the strike, despite the wishes of her husband and children, who feel neglected by her focus on labour issues.

Made in Dagenham opened for previews on 5 October 2014 at the Adelphi Theatre. It opened on 9 November to mixed but generally positive reviews. Despite the good reception, it is closed on 11 April 2015, due to poor ticket sales.


The musical is based on the 2010 film Made in Dagenham,[2] which in turn centred around the true-life events[3] of the Ford sewing machinists strike of 1968.[4] The film principally follows the main character of Rita O'Grady,[5] who acts as the spokesperson for a group of female workers at Ford's Dagenham plant, who go on strike to fight the inequality that becomes apparent when women workers were to be paid less as they were classed as unskilled. In contrast, their male colleagues were classed as skilled and ultimately received more pay.[6] These actions led to the creation of the Equal Pay Act 1970.[7] It received four British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) nominations,[8] including Outstanding British film.[9]

In December 2011, it was first revealed that a musical adaption of the film Made in Dagenham was being worked on.[1] A reading of the book from the show took place the same month[10][11] with two workshops also being held the following year.[12] During these workshops, actress Gemma Arterton played the lead role of Rita[13] and in August 2013, Producers Stage Entertainment revealed that they would like Arterton to play the role subject to scheduling[14] and were seeking an autumn 2014 opening.[15]

On 3 March 2014, the show was officially confirmed and it was announced that the show would premiere in London in autumn 2014.[16] The musical has a book by Richard Bean[17] and is directed by Rupert Goold,[18] with choreography by Aletta Collins,[19] set and costume design by Bunny Christie[20] and lighting by Jon Clark.[21] The musical's score is composed by David Arnold,[22] with lyrics by Richard Thomas[23] and sound design by Richard Brooker.[21]

Describing the production, producers revealed that whilst based on the film, it would not be a direct copy, saying "Some of the characters from the film will be dropped, and new ones introduced. Not all the elements from the film will be on stage, and we'll expand on things the film barely touched on".[11]

Production history

The show's premiere production began previews at the Adelphi Theatre in London,[24] on 9 October 2014, with its official opening night coming on 5 November.[25] Rehearsals for the production began on 4 August,[26] with their first public outing coming on 28 September, with an appearance on Sunday Night at the London Palladium[27] and in November the cast performed "Everybody Out" on the BBC's Children in Need.[28] The lead role of Rita is played by Arterton,[29] with husband Eddie being played by Adrian Der Gregorian.[30] A typical London performance runs two hours and 45 minutes, including one interval of 15 mins.[31] The production closed[32] on 11 April 2015,[33] despite positive reviews due to poor ticket sales.[34] Made In Dagenham was replaced by Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre in London on 15 September 2015, with previews from 21 August.[35]

In April 2016 it was announced that a new actor/musician co-production by the Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch and New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich will be performed from 16 August to 17 September in Hornchurch, and 21 September to 15 October 2016 in Ipswich. It will be directed by Queen's Theatre artistic director, Douglas Rintoul, designed by Hayley Grindle with musical direction by Ben Goddard. Cast is to be announced.[36] Oxford University will be staging a production early in 2017 at the Simpkins Lee Theatre at Lady Margaret Hall, with casting yet to be announced.


Musical numbers

Act I[37]
  • "Busy Woman"
  • "Made in Dagenham"
  • "This Is What We Want"
  • "Union Song"
  • "Wossname"
  • "Always A Problem"
  • "Payday!"
  • "I'm Sorry, I Love You"
  • "School Song"
  • "Connie's Song"
  • "Everybody Out"

Act II[37]
  • "This is America"
  • "Storm Clouds Montage"
  • "Cortina!"
  • "The Letter"
  • "In An Ideal World"
  • "We Nearly Had it All"
  • "Viva Eastbourne"
  • "Stand Up"
  • "Finale"


The musical uses a nine-member orchestra consisting of keyboard, piano, guitar, bass, drums, percussion, reeds and trumpet.[37]


On 13 June 2014, the first song from the musical was revealed as Everybody Out and was released on SoundCloud,[38] with two other tracks, "The Letter" and the musical's title song "Made in Dagenham" also released on SoundCloud[39] and via the show's website.[40] In addition Everybody Out was released as a single on 28 July 2014.[41] Shortly prior to the show's West End closure it was announced a cast recording would be released.[42] Recorded live at London's Adelphi Theatre the soundtrack was released on digital formats only on 18 May 2015, via First Night Records.

Made in Dagenham
Cast recording by the Original London cast
Released 18 May 2015 (2015-05-18)
Genre Broadway musical
Length 1:11:02
Label First Night Records
Producer Rupert Goold
No. Title Length
1. "Busy Woman"   5.19
2. "Made in Dagenham"   3.20
3. "This Is What We Want"   3.00
4. "Wossname"   2.16
5. "Always A Problem"   3.00
6. "Payday"   2.20
7. "I'm Sorry, I Love You"   3.49
8. "Connie's Song"   3.39
9. "Everybody Out"   7.39
10. "This Is America"   4.59
11. "Storm Clouds"   7.31
12. "Cortina"   2.55
13. "The Letter"   4.03
14. "Ideal World"   3.58
15. "We Nearly Had It All"   3.49
16. "Viva Eastbourne"   1.59
17. "Stand Up"   7.26

Principal roles and original cast

Female ensemble cast of Made in Dagenham
Character Original West End Performer[43][44][45]
Rita O'Grady Gemma Arterton[46]
Eddie O'Grady Adrian Der Gregorian[46]
Mr Tooley Steve Furst
Prime Minister Harold Wilson Mark Hadfield
Barbara Castle Sophie-Louise Dann
Connie Isla Blair
Monty David Cardy
Beryl Sophie Stanton
Clare Heather Craney
Sandra Sophie Isaacs
Mr Hopkins Julius D'Silva
Lisa Hopkins Naomi Frederick
Buddy Cortina Scott Garnham
Cass Naana Agyei-Ampadu
Barry Thomas Aldridge
Sid Ian Jervis
Bill Paul Kemble
Pauline Emma Lindars
Valerie Jo Napthine
Charlotte Tracey Penn
Joan Gemma Salter
Macer Gareth Snook
Phyllis Rachel Spurrell
Flo Kate Coysten
Jesse Karli Vale
Stan René Zagger
Arthur Christopher Howell
Harry Scott Paige
Rose Emily Squibb
Tea Lady Kath Duggan
Sharon O'Grady Grace Doherty
Gemma Fray
Annie Guy
Ivy Pratt
Graham O'Grady Harry Marcus
Ben Mineard
Tommy Rodger
Josh Shadbolt

Critical reception

The musical received mixed but generally positive reviews. Quentin Letts deemed it "witty, fun, fitfully inventive and distinctly English".[47] Henry Hitchings, for the Evening Standard, regarded it as "robustly likeable — mixing passionate populism with bursts of big-budget flamboyance".[48] Paul Taylor, for The Independent, called it "a West End musical you can be pleased to acknowledge was 'made in Britain' ".[49]

Nevertheless, even some of those who praised the musical criticised some aspects of the production, with Hitchings calling it "occasionally crass and a little too manipulative (the final number ["Stand Up"] is an especially brazen bid to get us on our feet)".[48] Taylor suggested Made in Dagenham was "uneven but captivating".[49]

Others were more critical. Simon Edge, for the Daily Express, complained of an "underpowered central performance from Gemma Arterton as Rita ... she lacks any of the goofy charisma that Sally Hawkins brought to the film role, so that it's hard to see how her character ever came to the fore of this dispute".[50] Michael Billington, in his review for The Guardian, opined that Arnold's score "rarely rises above the functional".[51]

Awards and nominations

London production

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref
2014 Awards Best New Musical Nominated [52]
Best Actress In A Musical Gemma Arterton Nominated [52][53]
Best Set Design Bunny Christie Nominated [52]
Best Lighting Design Jon Clark Nominated [52]
Laurence Olivier Award Best Actress in a Musical Gemma Arterton Nominated
Best Set Design Bunny Christie Nominated


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  3. "Arterton for Made in Dagenham show". The Belfast Telegraph. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  4. "Made in Dagenham". The Guardian. 30 September 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
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  6. Holden, Stephen (18 November 2010). "'60s Sweatshop Girls Fighting Ford". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
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  12. "Gemma's made for Dagenham: Actress set to hit the West End for stage version of film". Daily Mail. London. 9 August 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
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  17. Cox, Gordon (3 March 2014). "Gemma Arterton Leads 'Made in Dagenham' to West End". Variety. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  18. "'Made in Dagenham' Musical Coming to London Stage". ABC News. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
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  21. 1 2 "Cast & Creatives". Made in Dagenham. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
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  24. "Just For Laughs Theatricals launching West End musical". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
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  27. "Jack Whitehall presents Sunday Night at the Palladium with Lionel Richie". STV. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
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  30. "Arterton To Star in MADE IN DAGENHAM, Opens Nov 5". Broadway World. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  31. "Made in Dagenham". Time Out. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  32. "Made in Dagenham to close in April". Whats On Stage. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
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  34. Griffiths, Charlotte (25 January 2015). "Wheels come off Gemma Arterton's Dagenham production". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  35. "Kinky Boots strides to West End this summer". Whats On Stage. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  36. "West End Frame: Everybody out! Made in Dagenham to be revived with actor-musician production". Retrieved 2016-04-09.
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  40. "Made In Dagenham Music". Made in Dagenham (musical). Retrieved 16 May 2015.
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  43. "Further Casting Announced for New West End Musical Made in Dagenham". Playbill. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
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  45. "Made in Dagenham the Musical". Adelphi Theatre programme: 26. December 2014.
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  47. Letts, Quentin (6 November 2014). "Bond girl and a conveyor belt of raucous fun". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  48. 1 2 Hitchings, Henry (6 November 2014). "'Gemma Arterton is radiant in this unapologetically British musical'". Evening Standard. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  49. 1 2 Taylor, Paul (6 November 2014). "This pleasing West End musical really was Made in Britain". London: The Independent. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  50. Edge, Simon (6 November 2014). "Gemma Arterton is 'underpowered' as ringleader Rita 4 / 5 stars". Daily Express. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  51. "Brassy Gemma Arterton musical lacks passion". The Guardian. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  52. 1 2 3 4 "Full list: Winners of the 15th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards". Whats On Stage. 15 February 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  53. "David Tennant's Richard II shortlisted for WhatsOnStage award". BBC News. 5 December 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  54. "Olivier awards 2015: complete list of nominations". The Guardian. March 9, 2015. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
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