The drama, the tragedy and the unbreakable spirit of a working class community fighting for its future…the show the critics hailed as “urgent and heroic” and “emotional dynamite” is back!
The winner of the U.K. Theatre Award for Achievement in Dance, Gary Clarke’s COAL returns with a string of dates across the country for Spring 2017, including Make Liverpool, as part of the LEAP Festival on March 1st and 2nd.
Given a Four Star review by The Times and hailed as ‘both humane and powerfully dramatic’ by The Guardian, COAL is a riveting dance theatre show that takes a nostalgic look at the hard hitting realities of life at the coal face.
Strong, powerful and emotive, COAL 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.
It is based on years of personal research by Gary Clarke including extensive interviews with Anne Scargill – former wife of NUM president Arthur Scargill – and Betty Cook, the founders of Women Against Pit Closures. He 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.
“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. 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.” Gary Clarke 2015.
COAL, which has received a Strategic Touring Grant from Arts Council England, features 16 performers – seven professional contemporary dancers including TC Howard (acclaimed for her work with Vincent Dance Theatre and Wendy Houstoun), a live on stage brass quintet playing music originally devised for the internationally acclaimed Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band and four local community women, specially recruited at every venue.
Providing the distinctive voice of Margaret Thatcher is actor Steve Nallon, still best known for his many performances as the controversial Prime Minister in long-running cult television satirical comedy hit Spitting Image.
Performers are pushed to physical and emotional extremes, with an evocative score of live brass classics organised by Musical Director Steven Roberts and a thunderous soundscape by Noise Artist Daniel Thomas.
Playing live under the direction of Steven Roberts in Liverpool will be members of The Fairey Band.
Dramaturgy is by Lou Cope (well known for her work with award winning performers like Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui), with costumes and set by nationally acclaimed designer Ryan Dawson Laight and lighting by Charles Webber.
COAL combines Gary Clarke’s vivid visual performance style and splintering physical language as it marks the 30th anniversary of the turbulent end of the Miner’s Strike.
COAL is co-commissioned by DanceXchange, Cast Doncaster, The Place, Dance City, Dance4 with Nottingham Playhouse, The Civic Barnsley and Yorkshire Dance with additional funds from The National Lottery through Arts Council England, Individual Giving through kick-starter with support from The Northern School of Contemporary Dance and The NUM.
March 1st and 2nd – Make Liverpool, as part of the LEAP Festival. Music by members of The Fairey Band. For tickets and information call 0151 709 4988 or visit www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk.