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A date has been set for the UK release of Peterloo – Salford-born filmmaker Mike Leigh’s big screen re-enactment of Manchester’s infamous Peterloo massacre.

Peterloo is expected to be premiered at the Venice film festival in August before being released in UK cinemas on November 2 and shown in US theatres on November 9.

With an ensemble cast led by Maxine Peake, the film explores the tragic events of the notorious Peterloo massacre on August 16, 1819, when British cavalry forces charged a peaceful pro-democracy rally of between 60,000 and 80,000 people in St Peter’s Field, Manchester.

The charge killed at least 15 people and injured hundreds more. Protestors had been demanding the reform of parliamentary representation.

The area formerly known as St Peter’s Field is now occupied by St Peter’s Square and modern Manchester landmarks including the Midland and Radisson Blu Edwardian Manchester hotels, Central Library and Manchester Central.

Next year marks the centenary of the Peterloo Massacre, which will be the focus of the 2019 Manchester Histories festival.

Taking place at a time of major hardship following the Napoleonic war, Peterloo took its name from the battle of Waterloo.

The massacre became a catalyst for the radical political protest movement in Manchester, leading to the launch of the Manchester Guardian and fuelling demands for universal suffrage and improved workers’ rights.

According to a report on the Cornerstone Films website, Cornerstone will be handling sales of the film, with Amazon Studios providing finance and distributing Peterloo in the US.

The project was produced by Georgina Lowe through Thin Man Films, which she runs with Mike Leigh.

Additional funding was provided by Film4, the BFI and Lipsync.

Speaking to Film4 about the project, Mike Leigh said: “There has never been a feature film about the Peterloo Massacre. The universal significance of this historic event becomes ever more relevant in our own turbulent times.”

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  1. Polly h
    This is a brilliant opportunity to bring history to life. As a Manchurian I heard from my grandparents stories of the massacre and other atrocities which took place in and around St Peters Square. I am really looking forward to the film Well down Mike Leigh

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