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Last updated:23 April 2015

Frontline: Culture and Education

Founded in 1986 Frontline was an educational theatre company operating in North West England and Ireland.  It was, according to the company itself, “an anti-racist, anti-sexist company of African, Irish, West Indian and English cultural workers.  Its cultural and educational work is developed through music, theatre, writing and design. The company is opposed to all forms of exploitation and works to examine the causes of and solutions to racism and sexism.”

Frontline: Culture and Education, as it became known, ran workshops with youth groups in Greater Manchester.  The workshops focused on issues important to young people, and were structured around producing a play at the end of each workshop.

Poster advertising Struggle for Freedom: the life and work of Len JohnsonOne of the series of workshops focused on Len Johnson, an English professional boxer in 1920s-1930s. Len was never allowed to fight for a professional title because the colour bar was not lifted in the United Kingdom until 1947. He stood as a Communist candidate for Moss Side East six times between 1947 and 1962.  The play, Struggle for Freedom was the outcome of the workshops.

No Irish Need Apply was a Frontline Theatre Company workshop focusing on the Irish Community living in Greater Manchester.


The Salford Youth Performance Project spanned three stages.  Each Poster advertising Strike or Starvestage involved a workshop and a production.  The productions were Time Will Tell, Strike or Starve, and Thatcher's Children. The Library was used to rehearse and perform Strike or Starve, which was about the 1911 general strike in Salford.

The Stockport Youth Project workshop focused on the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939. The outcome of the project was Apprentices of Freedom, which was originally devised to be performed at the Library in April 1988.  It subsequently went on to tour the Greater Manchester area.

The library’s collection of Frontline Theatre material contains information about the development and running of the company, correspondence and financial information.  There is detailed information about the workshops and performances, including photographs and programmes.  There are also posters advertising various productions

Poster advertising Apprentices of FreedomThere is also information about the Quantum Theatre Company which was established prior to Frontline, by Dan Baron Cohen. The company aimed to deal with issues of unemployment amongst other social issues in North West England and the file contains the profile of Quantum Theatre Company and its aims, as well as a company list, production meeting minutes for 1985 and correspondence promoting the company and its production of Human Canon.

The collection also has material on Derry Frontline which was formed in 1988 by Dan Baron Cohen and Lucky Morris with Bogside Sculptors to launch the 'Inside Out project'.  There is a variety of material including correspondence, project reports, a script for Inside Out, press cuttings and pamphlets.

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