Theatre in Wales

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THE MINERS WHO SWAPPED THEIR PICK AXES FOR PAINTBRUSHES     

THE MINERS WHO SWAPPED THEIR PICK AXES FOR PAINTBRUSHES THE NATIONAL THEATRE PRESENTS THE PITMEN PAINTERS AT THE NEW THEATRE, CARDIFF

Having enjoyed sell out performances at the Live Theatre Newcastle and at the National Theatre, as well as attendances by the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Lee Hall’s The Pitmen Painters arrives at the New Theatre from Tuesday 13 – Saturday 17 October.

Playwright Lee Hall is certainly familiar with the themes of art, class and politics that provide the backbone of the production. His script for the smash hit film Billy Elliot, the miner’s son who harboured an unlikely ambition to dance, became an international success. In The Pitmen Painters he once again demonstrates his talent for writing political theatre with more than a touch of humour and making it accessible to the audience.

Based on a true story The Pitmen Painters began life in 1934 when the Workers’ Education Association enlisted Professor Robert Lyons to teach a group of Ashington miners’ Art Appreciation. After some unimpressed silences that followed slides of works of art, Lyons suggested the miners picked up their brushes and tried it for themsleves.

Their work became critically acclaimed featuring in prestigious art collections and the group even counted avant-garde artists as friends. However, their feet were firmly kept on the ground as they continued to work every day in the mines.

Warm gritty northern humour punctuates much of the script but leaves plenty of room for some more poignant moments as the miners navigate their way into the art world. The clever set incorporates the real Pitmen Painters work into the story and the sounds of the mine are frequently piped in between scenes to remind the audience of the ever present mine that inspired so much of their paintings and drawings.

The Pitmen Painters is at the New Theatre, Cardiff from Tuesday 13 – Saturday 17 October. Contains some strong language and a life drawing sequence. Tickets range from £7.50 - £27 and can booked via the Box Office on 029 2087 8889 or online* at www.newtheatrecardiff.co.uk.



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