‘Outstanding’ **** The Times
‘A profound and highly relevant contribution to remembering this painful, life changing period in our history’ ***** The Big Issue
‘Just when you thought contemporary dance was in danger of disappearing up its own perfumed fundament, along comes Gary Clarke’s COAL’ **** The Stage
‘Evocative, remarkable, humorous, inventive, fascinating and striking’
British Theatre Guide
‘Powerfully evocative’ – londondance.com
‘COAL succeeds rather magnificently’ – Dance Tabs
Gary Clarke Company is thrilled to announce that they have received Strategic Touring Funding from Arts Council England to embark on a 2 year national tour of Gary’s new mid-scale dance theatre production COAL. COAL will also be featured as part of British Dance Edition 2016 held in Wales.
‘All of us really owe the comparative decency of our lives to poor drudges underground, blackened to the eyes, with their throats full of coal dust, driving their shovels forward with arms and belly muscles of steel’ – George Orwell
Marking the 30th anniversary to the turbulent end of the 1984/5 British miner’s strike, award winning choreographer Gary Clarke proudly presents COAL; a riveting dance theatre show which takes a nostalgic look at the hard-hitting realities of life at the coal face. COAL explores the darker underbelly of the mining industry unearthing the true nature and body wrecking demands of a working class industry now almost forgotten. Bringing together Clarke’s striking physical language performed by 7 stunning dancers, a local community cast of women and a live brass band, COAL is an emotional, moving and ever-relevant exploration of community, solidarity and survival. Clarke’s vivid visual performance style and his ability to capture both an individual narrative and a universal truth in one searing image or one tightly choreographed sequence, combined with his personal understanding of the incredible hard graft that is mining, COAL creates an immersive and memorable experience for audiences.
‘One of the most powerful and moving pieces of theatre I have seen on the miners strike’ – Paul Winter (Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign)
As part of the research for COAL, Gary interviewed ex-coal miners and their families including author of Flying Pickets Bruce Wilson, Chairman of The Yorkshire Commemorative Trust Frank Arrowsmith, Paul Winter from Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, Founders of the Women Against Pit Closures WAPC movement Ann Scargill and Betty Cook and Historians and authors Brian Elliott and Mel Dyke. Gary also accessed rare archive at the NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) Headquarters and at The National Coal Mining Museum for England. Steve Nallon, the man behind Margaret Thatchers voice on the ITV hit series Spitting Image also provided a voice over for the show.
COAL previewed at CAST in Doncaster on 3rd July 2015 with live music from the world famous Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band and 4 women from the coal mining village of Kellingley joined the professional cast.
COAL received a standing ovation to an audience of programmers, producers, school and ex-miners and their families. The show received fantastic feedback which has helped shaped and secure the future of COAL.
Artistic Direction – Gary Clarke
Dramaturgy- Lou Cope
Costume and Set Design – Ryan Dawson Laight
Lighting Design – Charles Webber
Musical Director – Steven Roberts
Soundscape Design – Daniel Thomas
Film Maker – Siobhan Mckeown and Dance
Associate Artist – TC Howard
Parsifal James (PJ) Hurst
COAL is currently available for national and international touring in 2016 and 2017. Please see promoter pack link below | Contact : Producer Annabel Dunbar firstname.lastname@example.org for further details..
Dance4 with Nottingham Playhouse; The Civic Barnsley; Yorkshire Dance, with additional funds from, The National Lottery through Arts Council England, Individual Giving through kick-starter and support from The Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD) and The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)
Please find the promoter pack for COAL here.