The General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) has published a collection of plays inspired by the trade union movement.
Volume One features work by playwrights, directors and theatre companies that do not enjoy a large public profile, due to their basis in working-class communities: ‘They have been the anonymous writing about the anonymous – yet this is often the great strength of their work.’ This is a collection that spans over 130 years of working class struggle, making it eminently interesting to labour historians. This includes work that explores the transition from rural to urban industrial society, the enfranchisement of women and the struggle to legalise trade unionism.
As Doug Nicholls’ review in Culture Matters sums up:
‘The seven plays in this volume are about class-conscious workers who recognize that they have the power to change society – a power that did not exist until workers created it, and that resides in collective action and an indomitable sense of justice. Many of the plays lend themselves naturally to communal performance and discussion in the best traditions of popular education. One of the motivations for publishing the plays in book format is to encourage the burgeoning new generation of socialists to read and perform them again.’