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The Pitmen Painters

THE DOMINION POST SEASON OF PRESS RELEASE
THE PITMEN PAINTERS
By LEE HALL
Inspired by a book by William Feaver
Directed by ROSS JOLLY


Opens CIRCA ONE
Saturday 4th October 8pm


A WONDERFUL PIECE OF THEATRE: COMIC, POIGNANT, STIRRING.

From Tony award-winning writer Lee Hall, best known for Billy Elliot, comes this amazing true story. Since its premiere in 2007, The Pitmen Painters has been hugely successful, receiving rave reviews and sell-out performances in the North East and at the National Theatre in London, enjoying two national UK tours, a transfer to the West End and also to Broadway, New York.

In 1934 the Ashington group of British miners hired a professor to teach an art appreciation evening class. Rapidly abandoning theory in favour of practice, the pitmen began to paint – prolifically, and unexpectedly became art-world sensations!

"Virtually all the events in the play are true," says Lee Hall, who being Newcastle born and bred is a fellow Geordie. "They really did go to London and hang out with famous artists and their work did attract big collectors. They learned the language of that world.
"Their lives seemed to make a good subject for theatre, a way of investigating some of the problems that culture brings if you're coming from outside of it, as these guys clearly were. It's a sort of parable. Of course, having written about miners and ballet, this didn't seem too big a stretch!"

“The Ashington pitmen were aspirational about high art,” he says. “From when they first heard about the wonders of Cézanne and Henry Moore, they not only felt entitled, but felt a duty to take part in the best that life has to offer in terms of art and culture.”

And they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. “We made our life into art,” says one of them. “It don't get better than that.”

For Hall, a great believer in the power of comedy, The Pitmen Painters allows him to make splendid use of the North’s tradition of wry humour. "There is a particular Northern voice, one that understands the absurdities of the world and comes across in a comic way,” he says. "Comedy has to be shared, it's an expression of communal feeling and I'm making something that people share rather than just expressing myself.

"The most objective thing in theatre is the laugh - it's almost a physical reaction to your work. It's a very comforting sound."

A richly funny, deeply moving and highly entertaining salute to the lives of a group of ordinary men who do extraordinary things, The Pitmen Painters takes you on an unforgettable journey from the depths of the mine to the heights of fame. This is a play that is not to be missed!

“Superb - warm, funny and thought-provoking” - Daily Telegraph

“Ablaze with intellectual vigour, political passion and incendiary emotional energy. A beautiful work of art that everybody should see.” - The Times

Best New Play, Evening Standard Award

THE PITMEN PAINTERS
Starring
GUY LANGFORD, GAVIN RUTHERFORD, CATHERINE DOWNES,
PHIL VAUGHAN, RICHARD DEY, PATRICK DAVIES,
YAEL GEZENTSVEY, SIMON LEARY

THE ASHINGTON GROUP

The Ashington Group (Pitmen Painters) unique collection of over 80 of their best paintings are held as part of the permanent exhibitions at Woodhorn Museum near Ashington in Northumberland, UK.

“What they produced was fascinating and if a picture paints a thousand words, these pitmen's paintings speak more eloquently than any photograph. They captured every aspect of life in and around their mining community, above and below ground, from the scenes around the kitchen table and in the allotment to the dangerous and dirty world of the coal face.”

Today the Ashington Group is acclaimed worldwide, and they have been the subject of TV documentaries on BBC and ITV.

If you would like to find out more about the group:
http://www.experiencewoodhorn.com/the-pitman-painters/
http://www.ashingtongroup.co.uk/home.html


LEE HALL Playwright

Lee Hall was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1966 and studied English Literature at Cambridge University. He has worked as a writer across theatre, television, radio and film, and been writer in residence at the RSC and Live Theatre. His stage adaptation of Billy Elliot won the 2009 Tony Award as well as five Olivier Awards and the Evening Standard Best Play Award. It was based on his screenplay for the film of the same name which saw him nominated for an Academy Award. In 2008, Hall again won the Evening Standard Award for Best Play - for The Pitmen Painters. Other theatre credits include Cooking with Elvis (Live Theatre, Newcastle), Spoonface Steinberg (Ambassadors Theatre, West End, also adapted also for television and radio), Two’s Company (Live Theatre and Bristol Old Vic), and the current West End smash hit Shakespeare in Love for which Hall wrote the stage adaptation.
THE PITMEN PAINTERS
By LEE HALL
Inspired by a book by William Feaver
Directed by ROSS JOLLY


Starring
GUY LANGFORD, GAVIN RUTHERFORD, CATHERINE DOWNES,
PHIL VAUGHAN, RICHARD DEY, PATRICK DAVIES,
YAEL GEZENTSVEY, SIMON LEARY

// 4th OCTOBER – 8th NOVEMBER
1 Taranaki Street, Wellington


$25 SPECIALS - Friday 3rd October – 8pm, Sunday 5th October – 4pm

AFTER SHOW FORUM – Tuesday 14th October

Performance times: Tuesday & Wednesday - 6.30pm
Thursday, Friday, Saturday - 8pm
Sunday - 4pm

Ticket Prices: Adults - $46; Concessions - $38; Friends of Circa - $33
Under 25s - $25; Groups 6+ - $39


Proud sponsor

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BOOKINGS CIRCA THEATRE
1 Taranaki Street, Wellington
Phone 801 7992
www.circa.co.nz

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