Berwick Street Collective | Nightcleaners

14 Nov 2014 – 10 Jan 2015

Event times

Tuesday - Saturday, Screening at 10.15am, 12 noon, 1.45pm & 3.30pm

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Millennium Court Arts Centre

Portadown, United Kingdom

Travel Information

  • MCAC is conveniently placed less than 5 mins walk from Portadown Train Station. Take NI Railways Portadown/Bangor Line Trains or Dublin/Belfast Enterprise.
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Millennium Court Arts Centre presents Nightcleaners by the Berwick Street Collective as part of a season of politically engaged art, commencing with the live screening of Creative Time 2014


Millennium Court Arts Centre is delighted to present Nightcleaners by the Berwick Street Collective (1975) and The Delmarva Chicken of Tomorrow by Andrea Luka Zimmerman (2002) as part of a season of politically engaged art, which commenced with the live screening of the Creative Time Summit, 2014, from Stockholm at MCAC on Friday 14th and 15th November. 

Nightcleaners Part 1 was a documentary made by members of the Berwick Street Collective (Marc Karlin, Mary Kelly, James Scott and Humphry Trevelyan), about the campaign to unionize the women who cleaned office blocks at night and who were being victimized and underpaid. Intending at the outset to make a campaign film, the Collective was forced to turn to new forms in order to represent the forces at work between the cleaners, the Cleaner's Action Group and the unions - and the complex nature of the campaign itself. The result was an intensely self-reflexive film, which implicated both the filmmakers and the audience in the processes of precarious, invisible labour. It is increasingly recognised as a key work of the 1970s and as an important precursor, in both subject matter and form, to current political art practice.

"A film that places the nightcleaners' campaign within a series of broader political discussions formulated as an `open text' which asks as many questions about its own status as a film as it does about the socio-political issues that are its subject. No engaged person should overlook its challenge" (Tony Rayns, Time Out).

"A landmark work of British political cinema and of collective and feminist film-making" - Annette Kuhn

Nightcleaners Part 1 was originally conceived as the first of an ongoing series; material subsequently shot for Part 2 eventually became '36 to '77 (1978), a documentary focused on Myrtle Wardally who was a leader of the Cleaners' Action Group strike in Fulham. A new print of '36 to '77 is available from the British Film Institute (www.bfi.org.uk).

Millennium Court Arts Centre would like to the thank the Berwick Street Collective and Lux, London.

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