Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
1 million Australian readers every month      list your event

World Premiere of New Dance Production COAL - Preview

Home > Newcastle > Dancing | Performing Arts | Theatre
by ABC Writer (subscribe)
Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Event: -
Dance Show On UK Tour To Mark 30 Years Since Miners' Strike
On the 30th anniversary of the Miners' Strike, the drama, tragedy and unbreakable spirit of a working class community fighting to survive has been transformed into an emotive dance production.

COAL, Gary Clarke Company, dance productions, DanceXchange, Birmingham world premiere, miners strike
New dance production COAL brings to life the miners' strike

The world premiere of COAL takes place at Birmingham's DanceXchange base in The Patrick Centre on February 11 with further performances on February 12 and 13 before the show embarks on a national tour.

Each city on the tour will feature local musicians and in Birmingham, it will be members of the City of Birmingham Brass Band providing the COAL score of brass classics that have been organised by musical director Steven Roberts. There is also a thunderous soundscape created by noise artist Daniel Thomas.

The Gary Clarke Company is behind the new dance production that recreates the heartbreak and turmoil caused by closures of the coal pits when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister.

COAL, Gary Clarke Company, dance productions, DanceXchange, Birmingham world premiere, miners strike
Brass music, thunderous noise and even the voice of Margaret Thatcher feature in dance production COAL.

Audiences will hear the distinctive voice of Thatcher in the show, which is actually actor Steve Nallon, who provided the tones of the controversial Prime Minister in long-running TV satirical comedy Spitting Image.

The miner's strike is an issue close to the heart of award winning choreographer and dancer Gary Clarke as he grew up surrounded by the Yorkshire coalfields.

Clarke said: "COAL is a direct response to my upbringing in the working class mining village of Grimethorpe, South Yorkshire. It's about trying to capture a time in British history that is too easily forgotten."

He added: "It is an attempt at keeping the memories of the mining industry alive, an industry that I believe shaped the fabric of our society and how we live our lives today. These communities are at the heart of COAL."

The choreographer added that the production explores the darker underbelly of the mining industry, unearthing the true nature and body wrecking demands of a working class industry now almost completely forgotten.

COAL, Gary Clarke Company, dance productions, DanceXchange, Birmingham world premiere, miners strike
COAL recreates a community struggling to preserve its existence

Based on years of personal research by Clarke, he carried out extensive interviews with those involved including Anne Scargill, former wife of NUM president Arthur Scargill, and Betty Cook, the founders of Women Against Pit Closures.

Clarke also spent time with Chris Skidmore of the National Union of Mineworkers, Bruce Wilson, author of Yorkshire's Flying Pickets, Barnsley historian and author Brian Elliott and Paul Winter of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign.

Dancers are pushed to physical and emotional extremes in COAL, which not only looks at the strike but also the gruelling physical graft at the coal face, both underground and on the surface.

The cast of 16 performers includes seven professional contemporary dancers including TC Howard, who gained acclaimed for her work with Vincent Dance Theatre and Wendy Houstoun.

Dramaturgy is by Lou Cope (well known for her work with award winning performers like Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui), while the costumes and set are by nationally acclaimed designer Ryan Dawson Laight.

COAL has received a Strategic Touring Grant from Arts Council England and is suitable for children aged 12 and older.


Tickets cost 12 adults, children and concessions 8.

World premiere -Thursday 11 February at 8pm.
Continues 12 -13 February - 8pm
DanceXchange Birmingham at The Patrick Centre
Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham
Featuring members of City of Birmingham Brass Band.
Visit the DanceXchange website for tickets or call 0844 338 5000.

February 19 - 20 - 7.30pm
Civic Theatre Barnsley
Featuring members of Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band. For tickets call 01226 327000 or visit Barnsley Civic website.

March 5 - 2pm ad 7.30pm
Cast, Doncaster
Featuring members of Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band.
For tickets call 01302 303 959 or visit the Cast website.

March 16 - 3pm
The Riverfront, Newport
Featuring members of Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band.
For tickets call 01633 656757 or visit the Riverfront website.

April 15 - 16 - 8pm
The Place, London
Featuring members of North London Brass.
For tickets call 020 7121 1100 or visit The Place website.

April 29 - 30 - various times
Dance City Newcastle
Featuring members of NASUWT Riverside Band.
For tickets call 0191 261 0505 or visit Dance City website.

May 23 - 24 - 8pm
Nottingham Playhouse
Featuring members of Thoresby Colliery Band.
For tickets call 0115 9419419 or visit the Playhouse website.

More UK dates to follow COAL tour in the autumn of 2016 including Glasgow, Huddersfield, Derby and Canterbury to Durham and Caerphilly.
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  62
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? Emotive and exciting new dance production on the miners' strike
When: Touring from February 11, 2016
Phone: Various - see tour list
Where: UK Tour - world premiere at Birmingham DanceXchange
Cost: 12
Your Comment
Articles from other cities
Popular Articles