New production is a mine of dancing talent

A scene from Coal, which is coming to Blackpool Grand Theatre
A scene from Coal, which is coming to Blackpool Grand Theatre

Following a critically acclaimed, sold-out, debut tour last year, Gary Clarke’s Coal is coming to the Blackpool Grand Theatre.

The dance theatre show will come to the venue on Wednesday, March 29.

It was originally choreographed by Gary Clarke to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike and reflect his own experience of growing up in the Yorkshire coalfields.

The show is based on years of personal research by Gary Clarke including extensive interviews with Anne Scargill - former wife of National Union of Mineworkers (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.

He 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. 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.”

A spokesman added: “Coal is a riveting dance theatre show that takes a nostalgic but honest look at the hard hitting realities of life at the coal face, the back breaking physical graft and the impact it makes on body and soul, both underground and on the surface.

“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.”

Coal will feature 16 performers, seven of which are professional contemporary dancers including TC Howard (acclaimed for her work with Vincent Dance Theatre and Wendy Houstoun), a live on stage brass quintet and four local community women, specially recruited at every venue.

Tickets are priced from £13.50. To book, call the box office on 01253 290190 or visit blackpoolgrand.co.uk.

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