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by John Fletcher and David Chapman

Musical Theatre: 'Threads' by John Fletcher & David Chapman
Set in Oldham, 'Threads' is a story brimming with
tragedy, humour and passion.


Musical Theatre: 'Threads' by John Fletcher & David Chapman

The musical opens in 1802 with the birth of twin boys to an Oldham collier's wife, Sarah Lees. The abject poverty of the working classes is worsened, around this time, by the effects of the Napoleonic Wars, the Corn Laws, the rise of the factory system and the accompanying health and social hazards in the factories and the coalmines.

As the twins grow we see what life was like through the eyes of the children. The death of Joseph, the twins' father, in a pit accident occasioned by the use of child labour down the pit, would prove to have a lasting effect on the Lees family.

When they are seventeen years old, on 16 August 1819, the twins take a day off work to join a march into Manchester, along with other working class folk from most northern towns. The march to St Peter's Field has a real carnival atmosphere, but this is changed by the charge of the 15th Manchester Hussars into the unarmed and peaceful crowd. The brutality and hopelessness of the Peterloo Massacre culminates in the death of one of the twins. This murder kindles a desire in the remaining twin to fight for all the reforms his brother had died for: workers rights; health and safety issues; universal suffrage; the reform of the Corn Laws and education for all.

Musical Theatre: 'Threads' by John Fletcher & David ChapmanTen years later, with the help of Jane Milne, the Parson's daughter, we see a reformed and newly educated twin join the reformist, John Knight. He tours the area giving speeches, especially in the local pubs, to encourage people to join the fight for reform and representation. The Angel Inn, on High Street, was well-known for the quality of the debates to be heard there, but even here the apathy of the working people is clearly seen. They would rather drown their sorrows in the pub or go to a cockfight than talk about politics, or the need for the vote.

After an attempt on the lives of Knight and William Cobbett, to try to thwart the local campaign for reform, the perpetrators of the twin's murder are brought to justice. The campaigning continues and, just when it seems that he is ready to give it all up, the remaining twin hears the announcement of the First Reform Bill in 1831, and the desire of the people of Oldham for him to be their representative in Parliament.


Principals (5m, 3f)
Narrator - male, any age
Sarah Lees - a cotton bleacher
Joseph Lees - a collier, Sarah's husband
Adam Lees - their son
Ben Lees - his twin brother
William Clegg - a spinner's son
Jane Milne - the parson's daughter
Polly Fielding - Jane's friend, an innkeeper's daughter
Support (5m, 1f plus chorus)
Seth Chadwick - Estate Manager's son
Jacob Buckley - Deputy Estate Manager's son
Parson Milne
Bess Schofield - textile worker*
William Cobbett - Reformist and national/international political commentator*
John Knight - one of the most active Reformists of the day *
* Also in chorus
Chorus : suggested size : 18 Women and 12 men


  1) Prologue Narrator
  2) Song Of The People Narrator & Company
  3) 1801 Narrator
  4) All My Dreams Sarah & Joseph
  5) 1807 Narrator
  6) Kids, Kids Ben, Adam, Will, Jane & Polly 
  7) 1814 Narrator & Company
  8) I Want To Be Me Adam & Ben
  9) Love Will Live Sarah & Joseph
10) 1819 Narrator
11) Reformist March Company
12) Peterloo Orchestra
13) Adam's Lament Ben & Company
~~ Interval ~~  
14) Vespers Company
15) The Pledge Ben & Jane
16) 1829 Narrator
17) Ten Years Ben
18) You Don't See Me Jane
19) Ben's Crusade Ben
20) Down At The Ale-house Polly, Will & Company
21) 1831 Narrator
22) Our Prayer Ben, Jane, Joseph & Adam
23) The Cotton Jewel Ben & Company

Information for Production Administrators

Here's a list of all the supporting material available and some other information you might need. Pricing for the production materials is supplied automatically with a Perusal Set. Royalty pricing can only be provided as a formal quotation.

Available now (see below) ...
Preview Script/Libretto
You can download straightaway a shortened copy of the script/libretto to read and get a relatively good picture of whether you would like to proceed to the next step. The Preview E-Script is made available to you as a pdf file sized for A4 paper and contains just over half of the script.libretto.
Perusal Set
These are available for customers in European Union countries only to borrow free of charge (but you have to pay the postage to return the set to us). The set contains ...
  • Printed Libretto
  • Printed Piano/Vocal Score
  • Cast Recording Audio CD (from premiere production)
  • Full Production Video DVD (of premiere production)
Available after Perusal ...
Libretti/Vocal Scores

Available to purchase in this form ...

  • Rehearsal Master Set on a Data CD (Cast). This contains the script and piano vocal score for your cast and crew provided as A4 pdf files. No problem about possible loss of deposit, as they are yours to print out and mark up as required. The price includes a multiple copying licence allowing you to copy the Data CD itself (enabling you to give or sell copies to your cast for them to make up their own rehearsal books) or to make multiple prints of the pdf's on the Data CD for your production company to organise and provide to your cast or crew.

To order this, create account with us, then go to the 'Ordering for Musicals' page

Please note that we do not sell individual printed copies of libretti, nor do we hire sets of printed rehearsal libretti or scores.

Available after Rights Obtained ...
Backing Tracks
Not available.
These are available for a 5 piece orchestra as below, for hire to production companies only, who hold a valid, unexpired, licence to perform.
  • Keyboard 1
  • Keyboard 2
  • Keyboard 3
  • Percussion
  • Bass Guitar
  • MD's Full Score
Royalty Type
Royalties for this title are 'variable fee, post paid', and will be calculated on a percentage of your box office income once your production has finished. See our pricing policy for details. We work on a quotation system for royalties, based on information you supply to us. Complete a printed application form or create account with us, and use the online version.
Video Licence
We have secured the rights to video productions of this title from the Authors, and we manage them on their behalf. Once a 'Licence To Perform' has been granted, and then on payment of a fee, we will be able to issue a 'Licence To Record'. There are some strings attached to this, but these are far outweighed by the benefits.
  • Record one or more live performances and mix down to a single video
  • Give or sell copies to your cast and crew
  • Sell copies to your audiences (take advance bookings on the night)

Order your free preview script or perusal material now ...
  • Preview E-Script (Threads) A4
    £0.00 Preview E-Script (Threads) A4
    A free preview script containing a significant part of the full script and provided as a pdf file sized for A4 paper.
  • Perusal Set
    £0.00 Perusal Set
    PLEASE NOTE : We operate a FREE Perusal Service, but our Perusal Sets are ONLY available to customers who are representatives of a production company, school, church, or amateur group. If you qualify, the set will be...
  • Royalty Quotation Form (FL)
    Royalty Quotation Form (FL)
    The rights to perform and record for all the titles in our catalogue are managed by Stagescripts Ltd. A royalty fee must be paid: whether or not the play is presented as a charity event, whether or not an admission fee...
  • Rehearsal Master Set
    £0.00 Rehearsal Master Set
    Rehearsal Master Sets (RMS) are available to purchase, once your production has been licensed. You will need the 5 digit licence reference number (see above). They are available as a Dropbox download or on a USB Stick. If...