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June 15th 2022 – 4th November 2025

In support of the protection of universal rights and fundamental freedoms throughout Great Britain and Europe and for justice for Ukraine

'What began as a celebration is now a call to arms'

Helen Mountfield, Principal, Mansfield College, Oxford

Dreams of Peace & Freedom tells the story of how Magna Carta, the foundation stone of human rights came to be in the aftermath of war and justice after World War II. From 15th June, the anniversary of its signing to the 75th anniversary of the ECHR we will do everything we can to educate, celebrate and protect that great charter of rights and freedoms.

In the past a ‘progress’ was the name associated with royal tours. A progress is not, however, defined by its' royal association. We are using it, because it emphasises the need to move forward and to improve, and not fatalistically allow things to slide.


We will carry out a number of Magna Carta Progresses to visit as many places as we can, performing DREAMS OF PEACE & FREEDOM in village halls and great spaces. We will ensure that as many people as possible know about the birthplace of their rights, and how there can be no peace without justice.

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- English Translation of Magna Carta 

- Charter of IMT Nuremberg

- Text from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

- European Convention on Human Rights

PROGRESS 4 | Summer/Autumn 2023
Vigil for justice, humanity and human rights

Following the failure to delay, prevent, or stall the Illegal Migration Bill, English Cabaret resumed their vigil for justice, humanity and human rights with performances at the Edinburgh Fringe. An unexpected pivot took them to perform with members of David Maxwell Fyfe's school, George Watson's College, at Edinburgh's Merchants Hall to mark his achievements. Then during the Conservative party conference in Manchester, they sang moments before then Home Secretary Suella Braverman made her speech, on the steps of the Friends Meeting House in beautiful protest. 


The vigil - an act of watchful attention in the face of sleep - shines the light of the past on our troubled present highlighting the issues of Justice for Ukraine and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, as it garners cross-party support for a 'Convention Coalition.

PROGRESS 3 | Spring 2023


The spring stretch of our progress was online, as 46 heads of state including Rishi Sunak, attended a Council of Europe summit, in Reykjavik. Our contribution to the summit was the filmed recording of Dreams of Peace & Freedom, circulated amongst delegates, to shine the light of the past onto their debates and encourage the British government to work harmoniously with the Council to solve global problems and respect the freedoms of all on European soil. 

Days away from the 75th anniversary of the Congress of Europe where David Maxwell Fyfe started his work on a Convention on Human Rights & Fundamental Freedoms, they met to refocus their mission in the light of new threats to democracy and human rights and to support Ukraine. They affirmed their continuing commitment to ECHR in the Reykjavik Declaration.

For the UK it was a rocky #RoadtoReykjavik as the government continued plans to introduce the Illegal Migration Bill, which threatens the ECHR. 

PROGRESS 2 | Winter 2022/23
Our Beautiful Protest 

During the darkest weeks of the year,

English Cabaret set off to perform Sue Casson’s dramatic song cycle, Dreams of Peace & Freedom, to shine the light of the past on our fractured present. 


As the government prepared a slate of legislation to restrict our fundamental rights and freedoms, a new generation of the family of David Maxwell Fyfe, British artisan of the ECHR, sang their beautiful protest at attempts to interfere with its protection and to diminish our humanity.

Retracing Maxwell Fyfe's steps towards the Convention's creation, the protest began in Dornoch in the Scottish Highlands and continued to London via Edinburgh, Liverpool and Oxford. 

PROGRESS 1 | Summer 2022
Edinburgh in the spirit of the '8' from 1947 

While WWII was still raging, discussions were underway to plan for peace. In Edinburgh they discussed a festival, whilst in London, David Maxwell Fyfe, one of Edinburgh’s sons, lead a committee that looked at what was to be done with leading Nazis when war was over. The plans for the festival were made public on November 24th 1945, 4 days after the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials opened, where Fyfe was a leading prosecutor.

In 1947, 8 groups came to perform uninvited at the new international festival, sharing their arts in an impromptu outpouring of the joy at being able after the silencing years of war. They inspired today’s Festival Fringe. We have came in their shadow this year, to emphasise the shared history of our stories.

LAUNCH | Runnymede | 15th June 2022
807th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta 

The Human Rights Act has been under review for some time and our submission last year emphasised the need for a wider education on fundamental rights and freedoms and their historical origins, a suggestion supported by Lord Gross and his panel. 

On the very day of our launch, the European Convention came under government scrutiny as the first refugee flight to Rwanda was delayed by an intervention from the Court of Human Rights.

The Magna Carta Progress reinforces the idea of the need to protect rights and freedoms over the centuries in England, and Dreams of Peace & Freedom and the accompanying wrap-around materials provide a vital perspective during this debate.

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