AWARD-winning actress Maxine Peake will take centre stage in Bolton today to receive another accolade — this time for using her work to oppose the government’s “crippling austerity measures”.
The former Westhoughton High School and Canon Slade pupil will be presented with the first Bolton Socialist Club Outstanding Contribution to Socialism Award.
Chris Chiltern, member-ship secretary of the club based in Wood Street, Bolton, said the award recognised how Maxine through her work has voiced her opposition to the Government’s austerity programme and “it’s crippling impact on thousands of ordinary people”.
Last year, she wrote and performed in a play about the occupation of Parkside Colliery by women led by Anne Scargill in 1994 on Radio 4.
The leading actress who has previously been nominated for BAFTA also performed Shelley’s The Mask of Anarchy to huge acclaim at the Manchester Festival.
The poem was written by Shelley following the Peterloo massacre in 1819 when campaigners for democracy were set upon by cavalry, resulting in the deaths of 19 civilians.
On the BBC’s Culture Show Maxine — known for her roles in Silk, Shameless and Dinnerladies and the holder of a Broadcasting Press Guild Award — spoke of the influence of her grandfather’s left wing politics and how these helped shape her world view.
Mr Chiltern said: “Her outspokenness, unusual and courageous for one with so prominent a public profile, has helped challenge the government’s austerity narrative at a time when more cuts are promised which will plunge even more hard-pressed Boltonians into economic misery.”
Mr Chiltern added: “We hope this award will help spur a wider debate about the kind of society we wish to live in — one that is fairer, provides hope for the future, is more accountable and underpinned by ethical values that the current Government is so utterly devoid of.
“Maxine has done great service to this process by bringing socialist ideas back into a public forum from which they have been absent for far too long.”
He said: “We’re very proud of Maxine for the example she has set and absolutely delighted that she has agreed to collect her award. Maxine is delighted to be able to attend the club in Wood Street to receive her award.”