GAIL Watson has never taken to the streets to demonstrate.

She's never contemplated burning her bra or even standing up in protest to right a wrong, revealing righteous indignation.

And why should she?

At 39, she's a mum-of-two who happens to be an actress.

Her life has been about family, about putting dinner on the table and wiping dirty faces.

But now the lady who stars as Katie Morag's mum in the BBC children's series admits her political buttons have been pushed.

She's regretful she's not one of those women who has stood up to be counted, who has fought against unfairness and for the rights of others.

And it's thanks to her involvement in a new play.

Mrs Barbour's Army runs at Oran Mor this week and AJ Taudevin's play tells the 1915 story of Mary Barbour, the Renfrewshire-born woman who moved to Govan and led 20,000 women in the rent strikes, organising tenant committees and eviction resistance.

Now, 100 years later the new play opens with an 87-year-old woman sitting alone in her dank tenement in Govan.

"The flat is condemned and the lady refuses to leave," says Gail.

"And the story rewinds on her memories, flitting back and forward in time."

Gail plays Grace, the sister of the old lady, Mary.

"Grace comes from the background of women's activists," she says.

"She's been brought up into politics.

"Her life has been steeped in it and of course Mrs Barbour is a massive political figure of the time, a real inspiration."

But in taking on the role, Gail has reflected on her own role in life.

"I've had no real political education," she admits.

"I've had to ask so many questions about the area covered in this piece.

"I've had to ask questions about how a woman like Mary Lockhart (a former chairwoman of the Co-operative Party and the organiser of Mrs Barbour's Army) can get up off her butt and fight to make changes. Yet, I'll sit in my armchair."

Gail adds; "I may get wound up about politics but I don't do anything about it. I live in my own little bubble. I guess a lot of us do.

"You get all caught up in your marriage and your life. Tesco trips seem to come before political activism."

Gail's study of Glasgow's political history revealed the Govan women had politics in their DNA.

"They were brought up in very political families," she says. "Mary Lockhart's father was in the Communist Party. They had the facility to be political.

"Me? I grew up in a council house in Bonnyrigg (near Galashiels) and my dad worked every hour he could. And I can remember the impact of the miner's strike in the 80s.

"But that didn't spread. Yet, I've really enjoyed learning about this period.

"It's been fascinating to learn how women were the fabric of society back in the early 20th century.

"The men were all at war, so it was up to the women to keep their world going.

"And when women had to hold it all together, they were less contained by men.

"At that time, women were not allowed a voice. They couldn't stand up and declare what they wanted out of life."

The play puts the changing relationships in context; women re-evaluated their friendships with other women.

They certainly re-evaluated their relationships with the men in their lives. After the war, women reverted to their old roles. But the spark had been lit.

"Women still needed men. We still do," says Gail, smiling. "But it was a time for a re-think."

Gail grew up determined to become an actor.

"I've been really lucky I've always known what I wanted to do," she maintains. "And now I make a living at what I love doing."

It's not surprising. Gail Watson can capture a stage, as anyone who saw her epic performance as Patsy Cline in the Oran Mor bioplay will testify. (And she was five months pregnant at the time.

And she gets to sing in the Mrs Barbour play, which incorporates workers songs; rightly so, given her terrific voice.

"Yes, but I'm an actor first," she says, grinning.

"For me to stand on a stage as Gail and sing would be the worst thing ever."

She breaks into a smile; "Give me a wig, and a character name and a costume and I'll sing all day long."

So she's never performed out of character?

"Well, I did once enter a school competition at Lasswade High School when I was 16," she says, with an impish smile.

"And I won and I got £50 and I took my best pal Sharon up the town and we had a great day. But that sort of thing is unlikely to be repeated."

n Mrs Barbour's Army, Oran Mor, until Saturday.