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Press Release DECEMBER 2022



Members of the family of British champion of the ECHR, David Maxwell Fyfe, sing their protest at the corrosion of our rights and freedoms threatened by proposed legislation.


“You cannot understand the present except in the light of the past”

David Maxwell Fyfe

During the darkest weeks of the year, a new generation of David Maxwell Fyfe’s family are setting off to perform Sue Casson’s dramatic song cycle, Dreams of Peace & Freedom, to shine the light of the past on our fractured present. It tells the story of the creation of the ECHR through the eyes of Maxwell Fyfe, a leading prosecutor at IMT Nuremberg who went on to draft the Convention. Designed to protect Europe from tyranny after WWII, it has been a beacon of peace for 70 years.

The Conservative party in government are seeking to replace the Human Rights Act with a proposed Bill of Rights that will undermine the freedoms of all people. And in the wake of the ‘small boat’ crisis, high profile members of the government are threatening to withdraw from the Convention.

Professional theatre company English Cabaret, who are also members of Maxwell Fyfe’s family, are presently camping in Oxford.

Singer Lily, who performs in the song cycle, says, “We are announcing this plan here in Oxford as it was important in my great grandfather David’s life. His work for human rights has been remembered here by the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at Mansfield College, but wholly forgotten by his own College, Balliol.”

Robert speaks the words of his great grandfather in the show says, “The city is also coincidently the home of Policy Exchange’s Richard Ekins, who is a leading and outspoken advocate of the need to leave the Convention.”

75 years ago, on 23rd December, David Maxwell Fyfe spoke in Brussels of his fear that the high ideals of the victors would be forgotten. At Nuremberg he expressed these as being ‘tolerance, decency and kindliness.’ Starting on International Human Rights Day (10th December) these performances seek to rekindle our belief in these values as established in the Convention, bringing alive its history to spark discussion about why it is still relevant today.

One of the most BEAUTIFUL things I’ve ever heard… a secular hymn for humanity

Thos Ribbitts, MusicalTalk


A profound and BEAUTIFUL experience

Jonathan Cooper OBE


This is a story that needs to be told…Thank you for shining a desperately needed LIGHT during these dark days.

Sara Soppitt Wilson

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