Dance company's tribute to the coal communities

By Antony Clay | 31/01/2018

Dance company's tribute to the coal communities
Picture by Joe Armitage

A DANCE company is making a welcome return to a South Yorkshire theatre in February with a production that will strike a chord with local people.

The Gary Clarke Company returns to Doncaster’s Cast with COAL which takes a nostalgic look at the hard-hitting realities of mining life. 

The multi-award-winning show will be staged on Wednesday, February 14, kicking off at 7.30pm.

The show will look at the drama, tragedy and unbreakable spirit of a working-class community fighting for its future.

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.

Mr Clarke 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.

Mr 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.”

Tickets for COAL cost £17 or £15 if under 26 and are available via or by telephoning 01302 303959.