Friday, June 17, 2016

The Pitman Painters - Royalty Theatre - Preview

The Pitman Painters
Royalty Theatre
June 20th-25th 2016

Sadly due to unforeseen circumstances this show has been cancelled. The Royalty are hoping to reschedule in their new season's programme.

The Royalty Theatre has presented a very diverse programme this season with plays ranging from the bleak, dystopian 1984 to the heartwrenching Steel Magnolias. They end the season back home in the North East with Lee Hall's The Pitmen Painters

Lee Hall's successes which include Billy Elliot, and (one of my favourites) Spoonface Steinberg, are noted for their social comment. The Pitman Painter's no exception. The play follows the true-life story of a group of Ashington miners in the 1930s who take an art appreciation class.  Their interest soon moves from appreciation of art to the practical and they begin to paint themselves. Their enthusiasm for the class is mixed, but eventually leads them to become respected artists, adopted and sponsored by the local gentry, with their works sought by collectors.  But despite their success, they continue to work in the mine, day in, day out and the play reveals the conflicts that arise as the pitman are taken from their working class background into the world of art collectors and gentry.   

Director Caroline Chapman says, “Since directing an extract of the Pitman Painters at the Miner's Hall, Durham two years ago, I was pleased to be asked to direct the full-length play here at the Royalty.  The play is full of passion for the miners, who come together for an art appreciation class. Life as a miner is so ingrained and becoming a famous painter seems another "class" away. Little do they know how famous their work will become and how their art will be such an historical record of life in the 30s and 40s.”

The play, which has been seen by audiences as far away as Canada and Argentina, in the Spanish adaptation Mineros, features established Royalty actors such as Anna Snell and David Farn, and introduces newer faces such as Kristian Colling and Matt McNamee. 

The Pitman Painters runs from Monday 20th until Sat 26th June. Curtain up is at 7.30pm. Tickets cost just £8 and are available from or by phone on 0333 666 3366.

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