“Dark, grimy, ripe with dangerous excitement... claustrophobic and intoxicating, opening a soot-smeared window into the past, as well as holding up a cracked mirror to our present.” —The Times
“The writing is a mix of the lyrical and the iron-clad... invokes the grim, dirty poetry of everyday survival.” —Guardian
“Impressive... an uncomfortable eye-opener” —The Stage
“Ha[s] an intoxicating energy... the action sequences are a rush to watch.” —Exeunt Magazine
A thrillingly fast-paced play about youthful disaffection, protest and violence, drawing on the history of the Scuttlers, the youth gangs of nineteenth-century Manchester.
It’s 1882 and the streets of Manchester are crackling with energy, youth and violence.
As workers pour into Ancoats to power the Industrial Revolution, 50,000 people are crammed into one square mile. The mills rumble thunderously day and night. The air is thick with smoke. Life is lived large and lived on the street. This is the world’s very first industrial suburb and the young mill workers form the very first urban gangs, fighting over their territory with belts, fists and knives.
Invisible in history, their lives, deaths, loves, lusts and defiant energy tell stories that will repeat and repeat over the decades that follow.
Scuttlers by Rona Munro was first performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, in 2015.
With nine leading roles and a large cast of mill workers and gang members, Scuttlers is well suited to performance by schools and youth groups, who will enjoy its physical energy and dramatic storyline.
Rona Munro has written extensively for stage, radio, film and television including the award-winning plays Iron (Traverse Theatre and Royal Court, London), Bold Girls (7:84 and Hampstead Theatre) and The Maiden Stone (Hampstead Theatre). Other credits include The James Plays for the Edinburgh International Festival and National Theatre, The Last Witch for the Traverse Theatre and the Edinburgh International Festival, Long Time Dead for Paines Plough and the Drum Theatre Plymouth, The Indian Boy and Little Eagles for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Pandas for the Traverse in Edinburgh. She is the co-founder, with actress Fiona Knowles, of Scotland’s oldest continuously performing, small-scale touring theatre company, The Msfits. Their one-woman shows have toured every year since 1986. Film and television work includes the Ken Loach film Ladybird Ladybird, Aimee and Jaguar and television dramas Rehab (directed by Antonia Bird) and BAFTA-nominated Bumping the Odds for the BBC. She has also written many other single plays for television and contributed to series including Casualty and Dr Who. Most recently, she wrote the screenplay for Oranges and Sunshine, directed by Jim Loach and starring Emily Watson and Hugo Weaving. She has contributed several radio plays to the Stanley Baxter Playhouse series on BBC Radio 4.