COAL miners get arty in The Pitmen Painters at Leamington’s Loft Theatre.
It tells the story of The Ashington Group, largely made up of pitmen who first came together in 1934 through the Workers Education Association to study ‘something different’ – Art Appreciation.
In an effort to understand what it was all about, their tutor Robert Lyon encouraged them to learn by actually producing their own paintings. The blunt, outspoken Geordie miners captured every aspect of life in and around their mining community, and received national recognition.
Inspired by William Feaver’s book about the group, the play was produced by Lee Hall of Billy Elliott fame.
For Director William Wilkinson, himself a Geordie, bringing this inspiring story to the stage has been a labour of love.
He has bought together a cast of experienced Loft cast including Gus MacDonald, Rod Wilkinson, Tom O’Connor, Phil Reynolds and Mary MacDonald. They are joined by Connor Bailey and newcomers Danny Loveridge and Lydia Brickland.
William said: “The story of miners discovering art may not at first flush sound promising, but in fact not only is it exceedingly promising it is truly inspirational, whilst at the same time hitting us repeatedly with laugh after laugh.
“I nail my colours proudly to the mast: This is a play about people I grew up amongst, worked amongst, have a fellow feeling for, and it is one of the finest, richest, most enjoyable pieces of writing I have encountered in decades.”
The Pitmen Painters runs from Wednesday (May 27) to Saturday June 6.
Visit www.loft-theatre.co.uk for tickets and further details.