October 4, 2006

– Old Vic Theatre exclusively stages “The Lady of Burma”-
On Sunday 12 November, ‘The Lady of Burma’, a powerful new play about Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Burma’s pro-democracy leader, will show exclusively at the Old Vic Theatre, London. This is the first time that her story will have been brought to the London stage.

Organised by the Burma Campaign UK (BCUK), ‘The Lady of Burma’ is a one-woman play starring Liana Gould and written and directed by Richard Shannon. Maureen Lipman will host the evening and contributors include Juliet Stevenson, Sinead Cusack, John Pilger, Glenys Kinnock MEP, Richard Wilson and Prunella Scales.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the eponymous ‘lady’ is leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma, which won a landslide election victory in 1990, but has never been allowed to govern. Suu Kyi was in Burma to nurse her critically ill mother in 1988. When she arrived in Rangoon, Burma was in political upheaval. Burmese people took to the streets in protest against military rule and demanded democratic reform. “I could not as my father’s daughter remain indifferent to all that was going on”, she said during a speech in 1988.

The daughter of Burma’s independence hero General Aung San, and inspired by the non – violent campaigns of US civil rights leader Martin Luther King and India’s Mahatma Gandhi, Suu Kyi organised rallies and travelled around the country, calling for peaceful democratic reform and free elections.  The protests and rallies were brutally suppressed by the army and Aung San Suu Kyi herself was placed under house arrest.

Since then, as the courageous leader of a campaign against one of the world’s most brutal dictatorships, she has spent almost eleven years under house arrest. She isn’t allowed to see her two sons, grandchildren, family, friends or colleagues as all visitors are banned. Her phone line is cut and her post is intercepted. In 1999 Suu Kyi’s husband, Michael Aris died of cancer – the Burmese authorities refusing her a visit from him prior to his death. They have two children, Alexander and Kim. Many of her supporters have been jailed or killed, notably in the Depayin massacre of May 2003, when up to a hundred were beaten to death by the Burmese militia. The military junta’s policies have led to an approximated 1100 political prisoners and up to one million people internally displaced.

Suu Kyi has called for people around the world to join the struggle for freedom in Burma. In addition to the Nobel Peace Prize, she has won the Sakharov Prize from the European Parliament and the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The Burma Campaign UK is part of a global movement to promote democracy and restoration of human rights in Burma.
A full profile is available at:
http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/aboutburma/aung_san_suu_kyi.htm
for further information contact Suki Dusanj on 0207 324 4716.

Notes to Editors

Aung San Suu Kyi was held under house arrest from 1989-1995, and again from 2000-2002. She was again arrested in May 2003 after the Depayin massacre. She is currently under house arrest in Rangoon. Aung San Suu Kyi’s message is a simple one – that only by “fighting fear can you truly be free” – a message Burma’s military fears and aims to silence.
Burma is ruled by one of the most brutal and corrupt regimes in the world responsible for:
the widespread use of forced labour. Over 1 million people have been forced from their homes since 1988. There are currently at least 1100 political prisoners in Burma, many of whom are routinely tortured, and as many as 70,000 child soldiers – more than any other country in the world. Rape is used as a weapon of war against ethnic women and children.
Nearly half the government budget is spent on the military and just 19p per person per year on health. One in ten children die before their fifth birthday.

‘The Lady of Burma’ is supported by Arts Council England through Grants for the Arts.

Dispatches for channel 4 “Burma’s Secret War” addressed the human rights issues faced by the Burmese people – October 2nd, 8pm Channel 4.

Tickets for “The Lady of Burma” Gala performance, 12th November 2006, are available now from the Old Vic Box Office. T. 0870 0606628 Prices start at £20.

£150 – Golden Ticket – includes best-in-house seat, pre-show and interval drink, exclusive access to the VIP and cast area, credit as a Golden Supporter of The Lady of Burma in the Gala programme, and one year’s honorary membership of the Burma Campaign UK.

£60 – Silver Ticket – includes best seat for the performance and credit as a Supporter of The Lady of Burma in the Gala programme.

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