22nd February 2019
Lines - Part One: Lillian Bilocca
1. Lillian (Prelude) / 2. A Whistling Woman / 3. The Sea Is A Woman / 4. Lonesome Cowboy / 5. Lillian II (The Banqueting Hall Scene)
These songs were originally written and performed by The Unthanks in 2017 for the promenade site specific theatre piece The Last Testament Of Lillian Bilocca, written by Maxine Peake and directed by Sarah Frankcom, for Hull City Of Culture. Lillian Bilocca and the women of Hessle Road in Hull campaigned, successfully, for improved safety at sea for fishermen, following the triple trawler disaster of 1968, in which 58 men lost their lives. Armed with 10,000 signatures collected in 10 days, she led a delegation to present a charter to the government and received a meeting with Harold Wilson, resulting in one of the biggest and most successful civil actions of the 20th century. While initially heralded for her achievement, 'Big Lil' quickly became vilified for meddling in 'men's work' and became a scapegoat for the fishing industry's decline. She received death threats and lost her job. Blacklisted from the fishing industry, she was reduced to cleaning toilets in a nightclub, before dying of cancer at 59. In her theatre piece, Maxine Peake wanted to explore how "when a woman puts her head above the parapet and speaks out, she is more than likely victimised". The words to the songs on this record were written by Maxine, set to music by Adrian McNally.