Opened 21 May 2008
Written: by Lee Hall, inspired by a book by William Feaver
Directed: Max Roberts
Produced: A co-production between Live Theatre, Newcastle and the National Theatre
Cast:Christopher Connel, Michael Hodgson, Ian Kelly, Brian Lonsdale, Lisa McGrillis, Deka Walmsley, David Whitaker, Phillippa Wilson.
Synopsis: In 1934, a group of Ashington miners hired a professor to teach an art appreciation evening class. Rapidly abandoning theory in favour of practice, the pitmen began to paint. Within a few years the most avant-garde artists became their friends and their work was acquired by prestigious collections; but every day they worked, as before, down the mine.
What the popular press had to say.....
PAUL TAYLOR for THE INDEPENDENT says, "Full of warm, gritty humour...deeply engaging and attractively acted production ...displays Lee Hall's great gift for tackling tricky questions about art and social class." NICHOLAS DE JONGH for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "Perfectly pitched and acted production, manages to be tragic, funny and illuminating in one fell swoop of energy." MICHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, "Remarkable play...Fine production...a play that is both a riveting social document and an invigorating political war-cry." BEN DOWELL for THE STAGE says, "It’s a lovely tale, and much of the ensemble acting is first-rate." SAM MALOWE for THE TIMES says, "Ablaze – with intellectual vigour, political passion and incendiary emotional energy...a beautiful work of art that everyone should see."