COAL Reviews

“Sense of startling authenticity that Clarke has managed to capture in COAL”
★★★★ DanceTabs

“An absorbing, immediate slice of history rendered with the kind of emotional truth that deepens its impact as popular entertainment.”
★★★★ The Times

“Unquestionably beautiful piece throughout.”
British Theatre Guide

“A compelling look at the behaviour of real people under political and personal pressure.”

“Visceral piece of physical theatre recalling the shattering impact of the pit closures in the 1980s”
★★★★ The Stage

“A profound and highly relevant contribution to remembering this painful, life changing period in our history.”
The Big Issue

“Powerful and moving… a thrilling piece.”
The Sheffield Star

“One of the most exhilarating and moving experiences I have had for some time… The sheer ambition, the integrity and heart with which Gary has developed the material and the palpable resonance it had with the audience were incredible…. This is a great piece for people who have never been to see dance before, or been to the theatre before – particularly in areas like ours that have strong bonds to working class effort, industrial communities and the brass band tradition.”


“COAL was stunning, it was a privilege to be in the audience and hear and see the effect the piece had on a “real” audience. The response throughout the piece from the ex-miners in the audience was exceptional. It was fantastic to hear them talk and discuss the work both throughout and after the show.” 

“More than any other preview we managed to encourage vast numbers into our venue from all walks: dancers, artists, miners, currently engaged theatre audiences and people new to our venue, and in some cases new to theatre/dance. There was a real appetite to see this work, which we could surely capitalise on as we move forward. After the production, when talking to a cross-section of our audiences a common thread emerged, ‘When will this return? I need to help you spread the word and bring more people to see this work’.” 

Theatre audience

“Fantastic piece of theatre”

“It’s a message that needs a wider audience than pit areas”

“Loved the live brass band”

“Emotional, engaging and educational”

“Most definitely captured the gritty realities of working down the mines. I felt exhausted myself!”


“Very moving and extremely educational for a younger generation” Secondary Student

“Absolutely loved it. I think the work is gripping & emotional” Secondary Student

“COAL has made me realise how hard the life of miners was and how much injustice the miners and their wives have overcome” Secondary Student

Ex-Mining Community

“One of the most powerful, moving pieces of theatre I’ve ever seen on the miners strike”

“Truly amazing and so moving, it brought back so many memories”

“Can’t fault it! Excellent”

“A very powerful piece of work that graphically shows the physical demands, camaraderie environment and spirit of community within the mining people”

Other comments

“Enthralling – should be seen in all British Towns” Local historian and writer

“The most important and urgent piece to grace the Cast stage since its opening. It deserves a very broad and varied audience”  Kevin Spence, JKL Productions

“Fabulous, politically spot on” Local current affairs journalist

“Excellent, mining scene was intense, for someone not from a mining community it taught me a lot” Councillor

“Absolutely brilliant” Councillo