Playwright Lee Hall (creator of Billy Elliot) scripts a play that recounts the real-life story of a group of miners who, courtesy of their union, enroll in an art course and come to express themselves on canvas at the urging of a local art professor producing paintings of a workingman's life and the effect on their lives after their work is discovered by the press and some wealty patrons making them celebrated in the art world.
The play originally made it's debut at Newcastle's Live Theatre in 2007 and subsequently transferred to seasons at the National Theare and on Broadway.
Author William Feaver was inspired to write his book about the Ashington Group painters after seeing their work and meeting them at their hut in 1971. Along with a founding member of the group, Oliver Kilbourn, he became a trustee of the collection after the group stopped functioning in 1984 having been in existence since 1934. Shortly before he died, Oliver Kilbourn wrote to William Fever, "A key factor in our long life I think, was the fact was the fact that we were never a commerical group but preserved our idealism. We thought we were doing something that no one else could do. We were depicting a way of life below and above ground in a mining village that only we knew by experiencing it. Life goes on and we paint life.
The producers have yet to announce the final cast members but it is hoped that the most of the original cast from the National and Broadway production will remain in their roles.
Keep checking our website for when tickets go on sale!
Currently the Duchess is home to Butley starring Dominic West.
[posted by Louise, 27/06/2011]