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COAL! Award winning dance drama comes to Edinburgh this autumn

Added on: 4th August, 2017 by John_2904

COAL! Award winning dance drama comes to Edinburgh this autumn

Last Updated:
Tue, 5 September 2017

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THE drama, the tragedy and the unbreakable spirit of a working class community fighting for its future…the multi award winning show the critics hailed as “urgent and heroic” and “emotional dynamite” is coming to Edinburgh!

From the Gary Clarke Company - named Best Independent Company at the prestigious Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards and the winner of the UK Theatre Award for Achievement in Dance - COAL arrives at The Traverse Theatre for three performances only from September 14 to 16.

Given a Four Star review by The Times and hailed as ‘both humane and powerfully dramatic’ by The Guardian, COAL is a riveting dance theatre show that takes a nostalgic look at the hard hitting realities of life at the coal face.

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, which has received a Strategic Touring Grant from Arts Council England, features16 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.

Playing live under the direction of Steven Roberts at The Traverse Theatre will be members of the Whitburn Band.

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.

What the critics are saying:

“An absorbing, immediate slice of history…robust, urgent and heroic…” The Times
“Unquestionably beautiful.” British Theatre Guide

“Coal is contemporary dance that moves grown men to tears…emotional dynamite.” East Midlands Theatre

“Powerful and moving…a thrilling piece.” The Sheffield Star

“A compelling look at the behaviour of real people under political and personal pressure.”

“A profound and highly relevant contribution to remembering this painful, life changing period in our history.” The Big Issue

“Absorbingly powerful and affecting….” The Herald (Glasgow)

“There is an authenticity to COAL few could match…” The Scotsman

“A profound and highly relevant contribution to remembering this painful, life changing period in our history.” Art Scene in Wales

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. (live January 2016)

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