North West Spanner Theatre Group

North West Spanner Theatre Group, first performed in the 1970s. The plays, Partisans and Cog, come under the title The Spanner Experiment a recent publication by Just Press.

As part of the 'agitprop' theatre movement, these plays were not only commenting on industrial and political unrest, but seeking to encourage it.

Playwright Ernest Dalton writes, "These plays give voice to the raging arguments and struggles of our time."

This makes them a unique chronicle of both the mood and the political environment of the 1970s. John McGrath, a left wing Scottish writer, stated the aim of agitprop as, 'articulat[ing] pressure towards [social change].' Above all, it can be the way people find their voice, their solidarity and their collective determination.

These plays were performed in factories and working men's clubs across the country, exploring the relationships and pressures of the factory floor and looking at the debates taking place every day.

The Spanner plays are perhaps best summed up by the reaction of a Tory councillor, who in 1977 tried to destroy the Spanner theatre group by cutting their funding and claiming their plays called for 'blood on the streets'.

Pick one up and educate yourself about a fascinating piece of working class cultural history.