Hollywood actress Gemma Arterton is swapping cinema for theatre as she prepares to star in the musical adaptation of the film 'Made in Dagenham', based on a real story.
Arterton plays factory worker Rita O’Grady, who leads fellow machinists at the Ford Motors plant in a strike to win equal pay for women during the 1960s. The young actress said it was something women were still fighting for today.
Better known for her dramatic roles, Arterton admitted to being terrified about singing on stage: “As much as I had a good feeling about the show, I just thought I’m not a musical theatre actor, I don’t sing, I mean I only sing in karaoke when I’m really drunk so I was like, ‘Am I going to be able to do this?’ And they said, ‘Just do it’, so I did a couple of workshops and then I just fell in love with the whole project,” she said.
Arterton believes this musical has a winning formula and is confident it will not join the list of recent West End flops like Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Stephen Ward’.
“I think it’s just one of those stories that you can’t help but be moved by. That was something that I felt when I watched the film. It makes you want to get up on your feet, it makes you want to sing, it makes you want to… (sharp intake of breath). So, I think that now that we’re allowed to do that in musical theatre form hopefully it will just get people really excited.”
Based on the 2010 film of the same name, the musical held its press launch at London’s Playhouse Theatre.
Some of the original strikers attended the event.
“Well I think it’s absolutely wonderful because we really didn’t think anything would come of our strike, you know. When we went back to work after the strike, everybody ignored us. It was just like another day. And the film really brought everyone’s focus to what we had done, otherwise nobody would have bothered with us. It was a film that really made everybody aware of how we fought for our rights,” said former Dagenham striker Gwen Davis.
Directed by Rupert Goold, ‘Made in Dagenham’ opens at London’s Adelphi Theatre in October.