Lenin in London

GaryDirecting, The New Factory


Lenin in London was first staged by The New Factory of the Eccentric Actor back in 2003 to mark the 100th Anniversary of Lenin’s last visit to London. When the idea of a benefit performance for The Marx Memorial Library was mooted, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for a revival of the work.

The Marx Memorial Library hidden away in Clerkenwell Green London, seems surprisingly, not that well known. It is however a treasure house of political writing and memorabilia, including the British archive of The International Brigade. When Lenin was exiled in London he worked in the building from April 1902 to May 1903. During this period he shared the office of Harry Quelch, the director of the Twentieth Century Press, from there he edited and printed the journal ISKRA (The Spark), which was smuggled into Russia. The office is still preserved and open to visitors.

The play itself is a short piece (less than an hour), focusing on the domestic life of Lenin during his pre-revolutionary visits to London. Set against the backdrop of a May Day rally at the Alexandra Palace in 1903, we see Lenin in public and private moments, both working and relaxing. I directed, and played the title role of Lenin with the support of 14 members of The New Factory to a packed house last night.

It was a pleasure to be performing in, and at the same time, supporting the Library.

ps that was probably the last outing for me as Lenin, though you will be able to hear me (not see me, as I am out of shot for the entire film) soon, when we release our short film ‘Lenin’s Lunch’.