Image by Joe Armitage
Inspired by his childhood growing up in Grimethorpe, South Yorkshire, award-winning choreographer Gary Clarke has spent years researching the Miner’s Strike, and conducting interviews with the likes of Arthur Scargill’s wife Anne, and Betty Cook, the founders of Women Against Pit Closures. He’s also spent time with Chris Skidmore of the National Union of Mineworkers, author of Yorkshire’s Flying Pickets Bruce Wilson and many, many more.
The result of his years of hard work is a new dance production entitled Coal, which comes to Gala Theatre on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th November. Just because it’s a dance theatre show doesn’t mean it’s at all similar to that other production about the Miner’s Strike, though: Coal aims to take a lingering, gritty look at the harsh realities of life on the coal face, whether it’s the back-breaking labour or its effects after leaving the pit. A refreshingly honest attempt at keeping the memories of mining alive, it’s set to be an emotional look at community spirit and survival in the hardest of conditions, both inside and out. This is no Billy Elliot.