Kirkintilloch Band to perform at Tramway

Two National Coal Board lorries make their way through an early morning NUM picket line outside Bilston Glen colliery during the miners strike in January 1985.
Two National Coal Board lorries make their way through an early morning NUM picket line outside Bilston Glen colliery during the miners strike in January 1985.

Members of the Kirkintilloch Band will be starring in a show coming to Tramway this autumn.

COAL, a riveting dance theatre show based on the 1980s miner’s strike and life in the coal mining community will on at Tramway from September 30 until October 1.

Choreographed by award winning contemporary dance artist Gary Clarke, the show tells the story of a working class community fighting for its future.

Featuring the vocal talents of Steve Nallon – reprising his famous imitation of Margaret Thatcher from Spitting image – and members of The Kirkintilloch Band alongside performers from the Gary Clarke Company, COAL commemorates the 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike and reflects Gary Clarke’s own experience of growing up in the Yorkshire coalfields.

COAL 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.

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.

Gary Clarke, said: “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.”

Councillor Archie Graham, OBE, Chair of Glasgow Life said: “COAL is set to be one of the highlights of our new season at Tramway. This dramatic, energy packed show combining contemporary dance with theatre aims not just to entertain but also to move audiences with its fresh, insightful perspective.”

COAL 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.

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.