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The Pitmen Painters makes its North West debut

The Pitmen Painters

Award-winning play by Billy Elliot screen writer
makes its North West debut at The Lowry

By Lee Hall
Inspired by a book by William Feaver

A co-production between Live Theatre, Newcastle and the National Theatre
Winner, Best Play, Evening Standard Awards 2008

Tues 27 – Sat 31 October 2009
Press night Tues 27 October, 7.30pm

Lee Hall’s award-winning play The Pitmen Painters, makes its North West debut this Autumn, from Tues 27 – Sat 31 October, following sell-out seasons at Live Theatre Newcastle and the National Theatre.

Inspired by William Feaver’s book, the play brings to life the story of the Ashington Group - miners from Northumberland who became celebrated painters. The Pitmen Painters is a humorous, deeply moving and timely look at art, class and politics.

In 1934, a group of Ashington miners hired a professor to teach an art appreciation evening class. Rapidly abandoning theory in favour of practice, the pitmen began to paint. Within a few years the most avant-garde artists became their friends and their work was acquired by prestigious collections; but every day they worked, as before, down the mine.

Interestingly, given the venue in which this production is performed, the pitmen painters were painting at the same time as LS Lowry, who was attracted time and time again to Berwick upon Tweed in Northumberland.

The South Bank Show has made a programme about The Pitmen Painters and the work of the writer Lee Hall for broadcast on 18th October on ITV1 which includes behind the scenes footage.

Lee Hall wrote the screenplay for Billy Elliot and adapted it for the West End in 2005, winning an Olivier Award for Best New Musical, which opened on Broadway in November 2008. His plays also include Spoonface Steinberg (Ambassadors), Cooking with Elvis (Live Theatre, Assembly Rooms and West End), and an adaptation of Herman Heijerman’s The Good Hope for the NT. The Pitmen Painters was a major hit in 2008. Lee Hall’s story of a group of miners who discover A co-production between Live Theatre, Newcastle and the National Theatre, the production is directed by Max Roberts and designed by Gary McCann, with lighting by Douglas Kuhrt and sound by Martin Hodgson.

Works by members of the Ashington Art Group will be on display in the Galleries to accompany this production, on loan from Woodhorn Northumberland Museum and Archives.

‘A glorious, instant classic of early 21-century theatre…it is at once amusing, tragic and revelatory.’5 starsEvening Standard

‘Breathtaking in its scope, Lee Hall’s remarkable play provides a fascinating debate about art and socialism.’The Guardian

‘Lee Hall’s new play and Max Roberts’ sublime production are ablaze with intellectual vigour, political passion and incendiary emotional energy. A beautiful work of art that everybody should see.’The Times

'A wonderful piece of theatre: comic, sad and stirring in the same breath.’Financial Times

Posted on Wednesday, 07 October 2009 under News Theatre News


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