Kathleen Tacchi-Morris lived her life as a tireless campaigner for peace. ‘Tacchi’, as she affectionately liked to be called, was born in Johannesburg. She and her family returned to England shortly afterwards. The origins of her heightened sense of injustice, which led her to be a peace campaigner, can be traced to early childhood, when she was expelled from school, aged 10, for leading a strike against excessive caning. Other childhood influences included meeting Annie Besant, H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw, when taken to Freethought Society meetings by her father, the inventor Percy Tacchi.
Later, she studied with Jacques Dalcroze, exploring his ‘holistic’ philosophy of dance in the 1920’s. She appeared in several movies, including Men Are Not Gods (1937) alongside Gertrude Lawrence and Sebastian Shaw. Through dancing she met and formed a close friendship with the Duke of Windsor and Mrs. Simpson. She also met Picasso, whose influence was to have a profound effect upon the direction of her life. This was the beginning of Tacchi’s forceful mission for peace.
At the 1950 World Peace Conference in Sheffield, Tacchi pointed out that among the many delegates there were no women. Picasso then asked Tacchi to represent him at the Peace Conference in Warsaw. When Tacchi saw the ruins of Warsaw and heard the story of suffering under Nazi Occupation, she knew that the rest of her life would be devoted to the struggle for peace.
Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre was developed through support from Kathleen Tacchi-Morris and has continued support from the Tacchi-Morris Trust and Heathfield Community School. The continuing legacy of pacifism that echoed throughout every aspect of Kathleen Tacchi-Morris’ life remains core to the Centre.
Steve Elliott talks about the legacy of Kathleen Tacchi-Morris and the Peace Child production.
Film produced by Harmony Media