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To Freedoms Cause

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TO FREEDOM’S CAUSE is an empowering story about the life of suffragette Emily Davison, which was first performed at Bolton Castle, in the Yorkshire Dales castle, that has toured a variety of community venues and theatres, including the Georgian Theatre Royal.  In February 2014, the play followed in Emily’s footsteps with a special performance at the House of Commons, sponsored by Emily Thornberry MP.

Emily Davison believed in equality and a fairer society, not just the right to vote. To reflect this and highlight her powerful legacy, I created #Emilymatters, as part of the House of Commons event, which has since grown into a a highly successful digital political campaign with over four thousand followers on Twitter.

The play remains very much at the heart of the #Emilymatters campaign and is part of its future plans.


Kate Willoughby
Actor & Writer of Emily Davison play TO FREEDOM’S CAUSE


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We’re proud to be working with the Emily Davison Statue in Parliament Campaign on a very special event in the Houses of Parliament, which will include a performance of  TO FREEDOM’S CAUSE and a debate chaired by Jane Garvey (from BBC Woman’s Hour).

Get involved:
Due to the location restrictions, this is an invitation only event. A small number of tickets will be made available via Twitter.

Emily Davison was a pioneer in using modern media to promote direct political action. She believed that women and men had the right to be equal citizens.

Join the conversation now by following @2FCPlay and using #Emilymatters 



Emily Wilding Davison’s legacy is for life, not just for 2013. 





TO FREEDOM'S CAUSE by Kate Willoughby

TO FREEDOM’S CAUSE by Kate Willoughby

The fantastic new logo for the play has been designed by North East based Emma Reilly, who is one of The Prince’s Trust Ambassadors.


You get the Emily Davisons of this world who do something truly heroic and selfless, but I also think there are more who are just as brave by challenging their own comfort zones. That’s all I ever did and hope that I can (through my designs) encourage others to just embrace their fears and be proud of even the smallest of their challenges.
Emma Reilly,




Emma’s work includes the  ‘Brave & the Bold’ apparel brand, which I came across by chance in the window of The Prince’s Trust Tomorrow Store. The striking logo as well as Emma’s description of the Brave and the Bold was very much in tune with the play.


Like most people, my life hasn’t always run smoothly. There have been times where I have felt lost, hopeless and unsure of myself. There have been days where nothing has gone right.

Every day we all face battles of varying magnitude. Some may be in jobs that aren’t satisfying their goals. Some may be experiencing bullying, hardship or difficult decisions. Some may be taking on scary new adventures. Others may be facing their final days.

But there is one thing that unites us all. We are the brave and the bold. We go on and fight, because that’s who we are.
Emma Reilly,


For more information about Emma’s inspiring work with The Prince’s Trust please click here.

And for more information about TO FREEDOM’S CAUSE, please click here, or browse the website for related posts, photos and updates on what’s happening next.


Emily Wilding Davison’s legacy is for life, not just for 2013. 


You can find more about TO FREEDOM’S CAUSE and its accompanying social media campaign #Emilymatters on:


Kate Willoughby
Actor & Writer of Emily Wilding Davison play TO FREEDOM’S CAUSE






Following extensive research and development, the Arts Council England tour of  TO FREEDOM’S CAUSE opened in Morpeth on 14 June 2013 and then toured to venues including Newcastle’s Lit & Phil Library, the Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond, HMP Downview and the Tristan Bates Theatre, Covent Garden.

The play was incredibly well received, including the following audience feedback:

“Very moving, very authentic and – crucially – very inspiring!” 

 “Well done! Such a strong performance and heartfelt”

“Fascinating take on an extraordinary woman”



Strangeways Prison barricade: Emily Wilding Davison (Kate Willoughby)
Photo: Trevor Walker, 2013


Reviews include:

“To focus on such a historic moment and iconic figure held dear by many is a difficult task. This play manages to avoid the clichés and reverence which can so easily befall such productions. The play does not simply pay lip service to the suffragette movement, particularly Emily Wilding Davison and her extreme tactics. It examines multiple points of view and offers a meaningful interrogation of equality, democracy and what actions are necessary and permissible in the pursuit of what is deemed to be right and just.”
Simon Holton – A Younger Theatre


“Here, Davison was presented as a fun-loving, vivacious woman who was dedicated to improving the lot of her gender …  This was an intense, moving, and insightful play which deserves a wide audience.” 
Martin Polley, Sports Historian – Emily Wilding Davison & the Political Disruption of Sport


“A fantastic interpretation of the events leading up to Emily’s death, the play also offered a refreshing contrast to the accepted view of Emily as dour and serious, a martyr-in-waiting if you like … This play is important, I think, because rather than concentrate on whether it was a deliberate act of suicide or not, it focuses on the human story and on relationships, between Emily and her mother and with her friends and between Herbert, his wife and his past.”
Nicola Gauld – Fight for the Right: The Birmingham Suffragettes


Emily Inspires-63_20

Tea & Sympathy: Mary Leigh (Hannah Emanuel) recuperates; Emily Davison (Kate Willoughby)
Photo: Trevor Walker, 2013


It was reading Margaret Davison’s moving last letter to her suffragette daughter, who lay gravely ill in Epsom Cottage hospital, which inspired Kate to write TO FREEDOM’S CAUSE.

I cannot believe 
that you could have done such a dreadful act. 
Even for the Cause, which I know you have 
given up your whole heart & soul to & it 
has done so little in return for you.

The play has developed since it’s first performance at Bolton Castle in 2009, but at its heart remains the strong bond between a mother and her daughter.


Kay Renner (Margaret Davison) Kate Willoughby (Emily Davison)_photo_Peter McCartney_Morpeth Herald 2013

Mam & Em: Margaret Davison (Kay Renner) & Emily Davison (Kate Willoughby)
Photo: The Morpeth Herald, Peter McCartney, 2013


At a time when voting apathy is commonplace, TO FREEDOM’S CAUSE provides a timely reminder of the sacrifices made by an earlier generation, so that we can live in a modern democracy.


Newminster_workshop_Kate Willoughby (Emily Davison)_Peter McCartney_Morpeth Herald_20

Legacy: TO FREEDOM’S CAUSE workshops in association with the Emily Inspires! project
Photo: Peter McCartney, The Morpeth Herald, 2013


A key element of the June 2013 project was the determination to create an ongoing Public platform for Emily Wilding Davison and her campaigning for equality.  With this in mind it is hoped that the play will be able to build on this summer’s success and continue to be a part of Emily’s important legacy.

There are exciting times ahead, so please do get in touch!

You can find more about TO FREEDOM’S CAUSE and its accompanying social media campaign #Emilymatters on:


Kate Willoughby
Actor & Writer of Emily Wilding Davison play TO FREEDOM’S CAUSE


Emily Wilding Davison’s legacy is for life, not just for 2013. 



2FC Newbiggin Maritime Centre Sold Out display

People’s choice: Several performances of TO FREEDOM’S CAUSE were sold out, including Newbiggin Maritime Centre and those at Newcastle’s Lit & Phil
Photo: Kate Willoughby, 2013





Arts Council England



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