Political shows looking at the real price of coal

Doncaster theatre Cast is bringing some poignant reminders of Yorkshire mining communities to the stage in its new spring season.
Gary Clarje's show COAL at Cast, Doncaster in 2016Gary Clarje's show COAL at Cast, Doncaster in 2016
Gary Clarje's show COAL at Cast, Doncaster in 2016

The season features John Godber’s new play Shafted! and the Gary Clarke Company’s dance show COAL.

They will be timely reminder of the loss of a once mighty British industry that went into decline 30 years ago under Thatcher’s government and ended this year with the closure of Doncaster’s Hatfield Colliery in July and Kellingley, North Yorkshire this month.

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John Godber’s new comedy, Shafted! (February 18-20) follows an ex-miner and his wife on how they fought back over the past 30 years.

The show stars John Godber himself alongside Jane Thornton, bringing back a BAFTA award-winning partnership.

Barnwsley-born choreographer Gary Clarke’s new dance theatre show COAL (March 5) delves on the darker underbelly and human cost of the mining industry.

Commissioned by a consortium including Cast, and endorsed by the NUM, COAL brings together on stage seven high-class dancers, a community ensemble drawn from local mining communities and live music from Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band in an ever-relevant exploration of community and solidarity.

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Another political drama, United We Stand, looks at the Shrewsbury 24 trial of building workers in the 1970s.

They took industrial action against the ‘lump’, the zero-hours contract of its day.

The show comes to the stage at the same times as campaigners call for the release of confidential documents alleged to show undue influence on the trial by the government.

Further season highlights include a bold reimagining of Bizet’s Carmen set in an oil-rich, military dictatorship in Equatorial Guinea by Zimbabwean-born Bawren Tavaziva in Africarmen (February 23).

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The hard and uncompromising world of 1960s Newcastle, rife with crime, sex and violencem is portrayed in Get Carter (April 5-9), a new production by Northern Stage.

The show is based on Ted Lewis’ novel, which was originally set in Doncaster and was first made famous in the Mike Hodge film starring Michael Caine.

From the team behind Birdsong comes a new production of the West End hit Shadowlands (April 26-30), about the love story of beloved Chronicles of Narnia author CS Lewis.

For children and families there is a 21st century twist on the Hans Christian Anderson classic tale Snow Queen (March 17-19), exploring modern families and online safety.

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Looking ahead to summer, Cast will host the world premiere of Northern Ballet’s Jane Eyre (May 19-21), timed to celebrate the Brontë s’ 200th anniversary. Sadler’s Wells’ acclaimed international festival of hip hop dance theatre Breakin’ Convention returns to Doncaster on May 7.

Graham Whitehead, head of marketing and communications, said: “Cast’s continued success proves that Doncaster is a town where arts and culture can and does thrive, with over 80,00 visitors coming through the doors this year.

“Our new spring season for 2016 sees some of the biggest national companies bringing new world-class shows to Doncaster, as we continue to establish Cast as the town’s cultural living room and a cultural powerhouse for the region.”

Ticket’s for Cast’s spring 2016 season are available now from the box office on 01302 303 959 or online at castindoncaster.com.