New play marks the end of British coal mining

New play marks the end of British coal mining

The Last Seam has been written to mark the closure of Hatfield Main colliery near Doncaster, one of the last three deep seam pits in the country, which ceased working in the summer of 2015.

Garry Lyons, an established playwright and lecturer in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries, has based his drama on stories he has collected over a five month period from ex-miners, their families and the local community around Hatfield Main.

The play covers the period from the Miners’ Strike of 1984-5 through to the shutting of the mine and the Brexit referendum. The project was made possible by a £15,000 Grants for the Arts Award from Arts Council England.

The Last Seam was given its first public reading to a full house at Cast, Doncaster’s professional theatre, in early April. The reading was performed by actors from West Yorkshire Playhouse under the direction of the Playhouse’s new associate director, Amy Leach.

The success of the event has attracted interest from a number of venues and producers across the north of England. Plans are now underway for a full production of The Last Seam in 2018, with a run at Cast and a tour of former mining towns as well as established theatres.

Daljinder Singh, Associate Producer at Cast, said:

“The piece really struck a chord with the audience. The nature of the miners’ stories and events that coincided with the Miners’ Strike are obviously of local interest. However, the personal stories and journeys that were depicted through Garry’s writing enabled a wider resonance with audiences across the range of ages and backgrounds.