The West End transfer of The Pitmen Painters opened at the Duchess Theatre last night (11 October, previews from 5 October 2011), following the show's recent nationwide tour.

Written by Billy Elliot creator Lee Hall, The Pitmen Painters premiered at Newcastle's Live Theatre in September 2007 and subsequently played two seasons at the National Theatre before transferring to Broadway.

The play tells the story of a group of Ashington miners who in 1934 hired a professor to teach an art appreciation evening class. Rapidly abandoning theory in favour of practice, the pitmen began to paint. Within a few years the most avant-garde artists became their friends and their work was acquired by prestigious collections; but every day they worked, as before, down the mine.

Ian Kelly, Michael Hodgson, David Whitaker and Brian Lonsdale all reprise the roles they played at the Live Theatre, Newcastle, the National, on Broadway and on tour. They appear alongside Trevor Fox, who has been with the cast since Broadway, as well as Joy Brook, Viktoria Kay and Joe Caffrey.

The cast and crew of The Pitmen Painters were joined to celebrate their opening night by guests including Peter Sissons, Mary and Michael Parkinson, Eve Pollard, Nicholas Lloyd, Josh and Georgina Andrews, Roy Marsden and Danielle Hope.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF THE PITMEN PAINTERS' 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE "NEXT >" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.
PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM.