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Close the Coalhouse Door

1 hour, 30 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 29 September 2012

'Close the Coalhouse Door' by Alan Plater with songs by Alex Glasgow. Based on the stories of Sid Chaplin, with additional material by Lee Hall. Northern Stage and Live Theatre's production of the celebrated sixties political docudrama. An exhilaratingly furious, funny and ultimately moving ride through the strikes, victories and frustrations of British mining history, the play captures the political anger and fight for justice of ordinary people from the formation of the first Unions in 1831. At its heart beats the joyous, soulful music of Alex Glasgow, inspired by the anthems of working people.

Musical arrangements and additional music by Sam Kenyon.
Directed for the stage by Samuel West.
Produced by Gary Brown

Sid Chaplin's stories outline all the major strikes, victories and disappointments in British mining history from the formation of the first unions in 1830s all the way through to the 1960s. Alan Plater uses the dramatic device of a Geordie family celebration as a framework to tell this history whilst their own story unfolds in 1968. One son, Frank, has left behind the mines to study at university, while his brother John is a dissatisfied pitman. Frank brings home his liberated girlfriend free-spirited student Ruth who threatens to tear them apart in the central love story.

"The terrible thing about history, said Orwell, is how few names of its slaves have been preserved. Tenderly and furiously 'Close the Coalhouse Door' does a little to redress that injustice" - The Observer.


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