Play looks at when striking building workers stood united

United We Stand, coming to Barnsley Civic
United We Stand, coming to Barnsley Civic
Have your say

United We Stand, Barnsley Civic

This play looks back at 1970s strike action in the building industry that was repressed by the Government and courts, landing the actor Ricky Tomlinson and other workers in prison.

United we Stand is based on the story of Shrewsbury 24, building workers who were accused of violent picketing and intimidating workers in Shropshire in 1973.

Three of the 24 accused, Ricky Tomlinson, Des Warren and John McKinsie Jones, were jailed.

Director and actor Neil Gore of Townsend Theatre Company said that the play seeks to dispel the myth that the strikers were criminally violent, rather than ordinary working men seeking a better life for themselves and fellow workers.

He said the play looks at evidence that the Government, judiciary and big building firms collaborated to discredit the strikes through the courts, two or three months after the strike ended.

He said: “The background is the strike and the reasons they went on strike. Conditions in the building industry were appalling. Hundreds lost their lives every year and thousands were injured.”

A rank and file trade union movement grew up to tackle the issues which led to the strike.

The play tackles the issue through music and humour and original agitprop theatre of the 1970s written about the strike in the play.

Neil said: “It’s a great night out at the theatre which looks at something extremely difficult and depressing.

“We’re able to handle it in a way that is palatable and fun.”

United We Stand is at The Civic on Friday at 7.30pm. Tickets: go online at or call 01226 327000.