United We Stand, Lantern Theatre

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Good old-fashioned agitprop theatre skills were used to highlight this 1970s fight by building workers that has repercussions today.

United We Stand looks at the case of the Shrewsbury 24, rank and file building workers dragged through the courts for fighting for decent terms and conditions.

Building sites were dangerous places to work in the early 1970s, with appalling health and safety standards that injured thousands and killed hundreds each year.

The ‘lump’ system, where sub-contractors were paid a lump sum, led to corners being cut and it also made it more difficult for the trade unions to negotiate better pay.

The play looks at how the success of a national strike led to a backlash by the employers and the Heath government. Some 24 men were hauled before the courts, using ancient laws, and three were jailed, including the actor Ricky Tomlinson.

The two-handed play uses music and comedy to get its message over and actors Neil Gore and William Fox are adept at moving smoothly to portray diferent characters with a swift change of a hat, tie or jacket.

A campaign (www.shrewsbury24campaign.org.uk) is seeking to get the convictions overturned.

It’s well worth catching the play again in Barnsley next January.