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West & Hall Collaborate on New Version of Plater's Coalhouse

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Samuel West will direct a new touring production of Alan Plater’s Close the Coalhouse Door later this year, produced by Northern Stage and Live Theatre in Newcastle and featuring additional material by Billy Elliot and Pitmen Painters writer Lee Hall.

The production will premiere at Northern Stage on 18 April 2012 (previews from 13 April) before touring the UK until June.

Plater’s ‘play with songs’, which was written and first performed in Newcastle in 1968, charts the major strikes, victories and disappointments in British mining history from the formation of the first unions in 1831. The music, by Alex Glasgow, is inspired by north eastern folk songs of each period.

Lee Hall, who is writing a new ending and an additional song for the new production, said: “This is a very important play. Live Theatre and Northern Stage are two of the most exciting theatres in the country. Sam’s involvement ensures that this will be an explosive and thrilling piece of theatre. I can’t wait for it to start.”

Samuel West added: “Coalhouse is set at a Golden Wedding - so of course it's a party to honour 50 years of love and family life. But it's also a celebration of a community - of the North East miners, the stories and the songs that inspired them and commemorated their lives and losses, their victories and their struggle ... It's an honour to be working in this great city on the work of one of our best-loved writers.”

Alan Plater, who died last year, wrote numerous plays including Sweet Sorrow, Shooting the Legend, All Credit to the Lads, I Thought I Heard a Rustling, Peggy for You (a tribute to his former literary agent Peggy Ramsay), Only a Matter of Time and The Blonde Bombshells Of 1943 (a prequel to the 2000 TV series starring Judi Dench). He was also a leading writer of television drama, with credits including Z-Cars, Fortunes of War and A Very British Coup.

Close the Coalhouse Door will visit Richmond Theatre (9-12 May), The Lowry, Salford (15-19 May), Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield (23-26 May), Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford (29 May-2 June), Gala, Durham (12-16 June), Oxford Playhouse (19-23 June) and Theatre Royal, York (26-30 June).


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