By Paul Allen
4 - 9 July, 2016
The band drank too much again, only 17th
The home has been stripped by loan sharks, Wife and kids leaving
Cast and set
Where there's muck there's brass: and there's still almost a hundred year’s worth of profitable coal in the Grimley colliery seam. Yet the miners who stood firm throughout the 1984 strike now face a renewed redundancy ballot that threatens to consign both their livelihoods and a century of brass-band tradition to extinction.
Based on real events in the West Yorkshire village of Grimethorpe, capturing both the resilience and despair of the miners, with the focus being on the colliery brass band's triumph in the national championships within a week of the pit closure. Improbable fantasy, were it not actually true. An iconic piece with humour, desperation, pathos, grit and a live brass band.
Many people will know Brassed Off from the1996 film starring the late, great, Pete Postlethwaite and Tara Fitzgerald, Ewan McGregor and a fantastic cast.
The play largely follows the storyline of the film with the notable exception that Shane, the son of Phil and Sandra, plays the part of the narrator. The action of the play is from his memory. Set about ten years after the miners’ strike, about 1994 to 95 when Shane would have been eight. He is now in his teens looking back.
The play tells the story of the ordinary working men and women of the fictional village of Grimley (based on the actual village of Grimethorpe) in the South Yorkshire coalfield. Having survived the disastrous 1984/85 strike you could have forgiven them for thinking their futures were secure, one hundred years of profitable coal in the ground. But the government of the time and the management had different ideas.
These men and women were strong, proud and fiercely loyal but were part of a game that they neither knew nor understood how to play. The management knew exactly what to offer these people, some nearing retirement, some still suffering from the strike, to entice them to take the redundancy package which would enable the import of foreign coal and the decimation of the local industry. They also knew how to set man upon man when previously there had been tolerance and understanding. Divide and rule.
The one thing that holds the men together in these dark times is the band. While the colliery lives the band lives, a notion not everyone can understand. We see this play through the eyes of the local people involved. We see their humour, their friendship, their resolve and weaknesses. These are men and women of the earth and we should respect them.
I have been blessed again with another amazing cast and creative crew, long standing members and those new to the theatre. I thank them all. Also I must mention the Clifton and Lightcliffe band that have been so supportive in helping us with this production.
I do hope you enjoy tonight’s performance. A word of caution. There is some flowery language in the play. It is as written. This is the gritty language of the people and is part of the play. I hope no one is too offended.