Produced by Newcastle's acclaimed Live Theatre, and following sell-out seasons at the National Theatre and on Broadway, Bill Kenwright presents the award-winning play The Pitmen Painters, which embarks on a national tour this spring prior to opening in the West End.
Written by Lee Hall, creator of the worldwide sensation Billy Elliot and directed by Max Roberts, The Pitmen Painters, has received huge critical acclaim and won the Evening Standard award for Best New Play. Read more …
In 1934, a group of Ashington miners hired a professor to teach an art appreciation evening class. Rapidly abandoning theory in favour of practice, the pitmen began to paint. Within a few years the most avant-garde artists became their friends and their work was acquired by prestigious collections; but every day they worked, as before, down the mine. Examining the lives of a group of ordinary men that do extraordinary things, The Pitmen Painters is a humorous, deeply moving and timely look at art, class and politics.
The Pitmen Painters grows into a well-grounded piece which mines the human soul and finds something more valuable than oil on canvas.
For anyone who ever put faith in post World War Two liberal orthodoxies, given their ongoing destruction by every government since Margaret Thatcher’s inglorious reign, the play’s final triumphant predictions of a fairer life for all are heartbreaking. Looking at the current political climate, Hall’s play suggests that the worms might just be turning.
The gentle banter makes for an entertaining evening, but it's the quiet thoughtfulness of the play that will stay with me.
Throughout Max Roberts’s powerful production, though, every member of the play’s eight-strong cast – led by Trevor Fox as Oliver Kilbourn – acts as if the future of the nation still depended on their argument, with an intensity mirrored in Martin Hodgson’s fierce sound design, and in the paintings themselves, projected behind the action.
The Pitmen Painters to transfer to the West End