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New play in Barnsley marks the closure of Hatfield Colliery

Earthy, funny and ever relevant, a new play marking the closure of Hatfield Colliery is touring to Barnsley venues celebrating the resilience, spirit and culture of the UK’s coal mining traditions.

In a memorable evening of storytelling this October, a new play, The Last Seam follows the closure of one of England’s last deep seam mines, Hatfield Colliery near Doncaster in Yorkshire in 2015. The Last Seam brings to the stage the stories and heritage of South Yorkshire’s coal mining industry, a history which resonates in communities across the country.

'It gives a voice to the voiceless community.  Everyone knows someone or is someone in the play.'

During the first half of the 20th century, more than 1,000 collieries were working in the UK. By 1984, only 173 were still operating. Documenting the devastation caused by the collapse of the industry, The Last Seam brings to life the real, powerful voices of the mining community. Insightful, honest and at times humorous, it delves into the heart of the community, from the courageous woman who protested to the resilient men who risked it all.

The Last Seam creates a journey from the 1970s to present day showing the lives and stories of families involved in the end of an era for Doncaster.

For this production by CAST, writer Garry Lyons (The Bill, Heartbeat and The Worst Witch) teamed up with the local community of Stainforth and Dunscroft in 2016 to create the true story of the closing of Hatfield Colliery mine, and the impact it has had on Doncaster, with after-effects right across the UK. This world premiere production uncovers and preserves the emotional stories behind our country's colliery heritage.

“[The characters] paint vivid pictures of events and characters in the pits, before and during the strike, and in its aftermath… This is a bittersweet play… The question I’m left with is “who decides the direction of change, and at whose cost?”“ Sue Talbot, South Leeds Life

This season, The Last Seam will show at two local Barnsley venues at excellent prices. Shaw Lane Sport Club for £7 including a drink and Jump Club for just £4. At these low prices there’s no excuse to miss out on a great theatre experience. Those interested in the county’s mining heritage may also enjoy Black Snow with Jed Grimes on 28 September, the showing of a prize winning film about The Oaks Colliery disaster, accompanied by folk songs by singer Jed Grimes.

The Red Ladder and Civic on Tour partnership which brings The Last Seam to Barnsley will continue throughout the season with more shows including: When We Were Brothers, an uplifting story exploring themes of mental health and friendship; and The Damned United, which sold out performances in Barnsley last year.

Red Ladder, who are now celebrating their 50th Birthday, exists to create theatre about and around human struggle and has had great success bringing quality theatre into the community, with sell out shows such as The Damned United, We’re Not Going Back and The Life and Soul at venues such as Live Arts Café and Shaw Lane. Now celebrating five decades, radical theatre company Red Ladder are acknowledged as one of Britain’s leading national touring companies they produce new theatre and contribute to social change and global justice.

“For fifty years Red Ladder Theatre Company has responded to the changing world… at our core is a commitment to telling the stories of working class, reflecting unheard voices on our stages and making theatre that is relevant to ordinary people… we are proud to be celebrating our 50th year as a Leeds company with a long history of making theatre for the many.” Rod Dixon, Artistic Director

The Last Seam is at:

Shaw Lane Sports Club on Thursday 4 October at 8:00pm

Tickets are £7 including a drink

Jump Club on Saturday 6 October at 8:00pm

Tickets are £4

Contains very strong language as well as scenes and depictions of domestic violence and suicide.

Recommended for 16+

For more information and to book visit www.barnsleycivic.co.uk or call the Box Office on 01226 327000.