OLDHAM Coliseum is gearing up to stage a new musical from writer Ian Kershaw soon.

Bread & Roses is based on a real-life story of the huge strike – led and won by women - in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912, the ramifications of which are still being felt in modern-day Britain.

The production runs from Friday, June 22 to Saturday, July 7.

It is directed by artistic associate and change maker at Hull Truck Theatre, Amanda Huxtable, and features the music of Joe Hill, a Swedish immigrant whose work became the sound of the strike and has inspired the likes of Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg and Bruce Springsteen.

Bread & Roses follows the story of Lucy-Rose Atkins as she navigates the strike, facing love, loss, lies and deceit, and using her fierce intelligence to make the journey from unskilled worker to impassioned leader.

On 11 January 1912 the weaving room of the Everett Mill fell silent as mill workers opened their pay envelopes to discover their weekly wages had been cut.

A new state law in Massachusetts had reduced the workweek for women and children from 56 hours to 54 hours and the mill owners had reduced their wages.

Under the circumstances the workers were faced with, the reduction of two hours’ wage was the difference between the ability to feed their families and going hungry.

Word of the strike by the women of Everett Mill spread and the walkout cascaded through neighbouring mills and by the end of the next day more than 10,000 workers were out on strike.

The Lawrence strike of 1912 became known known as the Bread & Roses Strike and The Singing Strike.

Songs by Hill, published in the Industrial Workers of the World’s (IWW) Little Red Songbook were sung out across the picket lines.

Hill was a Swedish immigrant who joined the IWW to protest and change unjust treatment. His songs, include There is Power in a Union, The Preacher and the Slave and Everybody’s Joining It.

Director Huxtable makes her Coliseum debut for the production. Her previous work includes Just An Ordinary Lawyer by Tayo Aluko and Wondr by Poppy Burton-Morgan for Metta Theatre.

The cast for Bread & Roses includes two former Coronation Street stars playing real-life historical characters - Rupert Hill (Jamie Baldwin) as Joe Ettor, one of the leading public faces of the IWW and Tupele Dorgu (Kelly Crabtree) as Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who was a full-time organiser for the IWW and travelled to Lawrence in 1912 for the strike.

Writer Ian Kershaw won the Royal Exchange Theatre’s Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting with Candyland in 2005. His other theatre credits include The Mist in the Mirror, Star-Cross’d and Union Street at the Coliseum and Get Ken Barlow at Watford Palace Theatre. Television credits include Coronation Street, Shameless and Holby City.