From the Asylum to the Palladium

“Would You Wear Someone Else’s Knickers?”

“From the Asylum to the Palladium” begins with the sad historic reality that many people were shut away from society simply because they were different. Recent decades have witnessed a dramatic shift in our perception and understanding but for some people the struggle for equality and community care continues. For others, it has moved on to a fight for free choice, recognition, respect and opportunity. With support from guest soloists, choir and orchestra, students from The Music Man Project tell this incredible journey on behalf of us all – from patients living in large hospital institutions to performers on a world famous stage.

"Would You Wear Someone Else's Knickers?"  Joe Dorado in 1971

“Would You Wear Someone Else’s Knickers?” Joe Dorado in 1971

It is now almost inconceivable that heroic reformers such as Southend Mencap’s late President Joe Dorado had to even ask the question “Would You Wear Someone Else’s Knickers?” But he did. These patients had no underwear or clothes of their own, no possessions and no privacy. After arriving from Spain without a single word of English, Joe began life sweeping the floors of a large psychiatric hospital where he witnessed first-hand the conditions of the collective “patients”: the mentally ill, single mothers, homosexuals, learning and physically disabled or even poorly behaved “different” children who became institutionalised.

From the “Asylum to the Palladium” is the story of how vulnerable people become West End stars for one very special Sunday Night at the London Palladium. Its message challenges us all to learn from our history and embrace everyone for the positive gifts they possess rather than outcast them through ignorance and fear.

“From the Asylum to the Palladium
The people will stop and stare!
Now we are here we’re as strong as titanium
No more restraining chair!”

 “From the Asylum to the Palladium”
By David Stanley
Lyrics by David Stanley and Jenny Hitchcock
With additional material and ideas by students from The Music Man Project