Award-winning Gary Clarke presents COAL
Gary Clarke’s COAL is the true story of an industry and a community’s fight for survival. 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!
Following a critically acclaimed sell out debut Spring tour at dance venues and theatres across Britain, Gary Clarke Company now sets off on a major national autumn season with COAL and arrives at Blackpool Grand Theatre on 29 March.
Applauded by The Times in a Four Star review as “an absorbing, immediate slice of history,” COAL commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike and reflects award winning choreographer and dancer Gary Clarke’s own experience of growing up in the Yorkshire coalfields.
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.
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 TV 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.
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.
Suitable for age 12 and upwards
To see more of Gary Clarke’s Coal Click Here
Gary Clarke’s COAL
The Grand Theatre, Blackpool
Wednesday 29 March
Tickets £13.50 to £19.50
Under 26s £12.50 (first 50 tickets, weekdays only; subject to availability)
School Groups £12.50
Groups 10+ £4 off
Groups 50+ £5 off
See below for Dance Link Ticket prices
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