Socialist Worker

Catch this Miners' Strike play if you can

by Richard Buckwell
Issue No. 2592

Miners on strike in 1984

Miners on strike in 1984 (Pic: John Sturrock)

This is a play—with song and dance—about the Miners’ Strike of 1984-85, written by the daughter of a Nottinghamshire miner at Welbeck Colliery.

It begins with the experiences of apprentices starting in 1983.

But we are soon introduced to the ruling class efforts to smash the most powerful section of the British labour movement.

A debate between new Coal Board boss Ian MacGregor and Tory energy minister Peter Walker starts about how to achieve this.

On our side we witness the debates about whether there should have been a ballot and the role of women—though there are no women in the cast.

The final scenes deal with the return to work after the strike, the divisions that remain and the need to work together when disaster strikes at the face.

At first I was not sure whether a ribald musical take on the strike was going to work—but it does. The final curtain brought a standing ovation from a majority of the audience.

This is the first regional performance since its London premiere in 2014—and very pertinent to have in Nottinghamshire. Go and see it if it comes to a town near you.

Wonderland by Beth Steel. Nottingham Playhouse until 24 February. Tickets from £8.50

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