United We Stand

The campaign gained tremendous support through Townsend Productions’ play, United We Stand. It told the story of the 1972 building workers strike and the subsequent covert police investigation and trials. It was written by Neil Gore, in collaboration with the campaign. The play followed in the tradition of Townsend Theatre’s highly successful productions The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists and We Will Be Free!-the Tolpuddle Martyrs Story. It toured throughout the UK for over eighteen months in 2014-16, receiving impressive reviews and an enthusiastic response from the thousands of trade unionists who attended performances.

The final performance of the play was held at the Irish Centre, Liverpool in 2016. The play was sponsored by the centre manager, Paul Spooner. It was a complete sell out. A large contingent from UCATT was in attendance to support the play and the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign. The reputation of the play drew people from all over the country to Liverpool to see it being performed for the final time.

John McKinsie Jones, jailed for 9 months at the first Shrewsbury trial, was in the audience and said afterwards, “The story and the acting was brilliant. I was moved to tears as the memories of what happened to us flooded back.” Terry Renshaw, a picket who was convicted in the third trial at Shrewsbury, added, “I was very moved by the play, the way it set the scene of the politics of the 70’s and the master stroke of having the music of the time running through the play”.

Eileen Turnbull, the Shrewsbury 24 campaign researcher, congratulated Townsend theatre group for the accuracy of the story. On behalf of the campaign she thanked the two actors, Paul Fox and Neil Gore, for their support and their outstanding performances and also Louise Townsend who produced and directed the play.