Based on a true story, The Pitmen Painters was the winner of London’s prestigious Evening Standard Award for Best New Play and a West End hit and then took Broadway by storm. The play has since been produced at many theatre in North America and abroad.
The Pitmen Painters is a funny and moving tlae of a group of ordinary men who achieved extraordinary things. The Ashington Group were miners in the northern England town of Ashington who, in 1934 employed Robert Lyon, Master of Painting at Kings College Newcastle, to teach an evening class in Art Appreciation. Lectures on the Old Masters from a posh academic were lost on the pitmen and so instead Lyon taught them to paint, with amazing results.
The Pitmen Painters is a story of the hopes, dreams, determination and camaraderie of these miners who continued to work down the pit, day in and day out until they retired. Celebrated throughout the art world, this is a play about friends who accidentally became a working class phenomenon, while having the time of their lives.
Playwright Lee Hall is best known as the writer of Billy Elliot – both the hit film and the highly acclaimed musical which played in London, New York and Toronto.
Director Randy Read says, “Of all the plays I have read and considered for production by New Stages, this is possibly my favourite. It’s theme of the ability of art to change your life and its portrayal of ordinary men in very difficult economic times finding a deeper meaning in their lives is so relevant in our own community today. When I read it I immediately started to think about the casting of some of Peterborough’s best actors, some who reside here and some who have left and returned, to bring this brilliant play to life.
The Pitmen Painters some of Peterborough’s finest actors. Robert Winslow, founding Artistic Director of 4th Line Theatre; Dianne Latchford, a former Shaw Festival company member, regular on the Queer as Folk TV series and leading lady in countless Peterborough productions, Tim Walker, a George Brown Theatre School graduate and alumni of 4th Line Theatre, Brad Brackenridge, a veteran of Peterborough theatres, Robert Ainsworth, an actor and award winning playwright with the Peterborough Theatre Guild; Kait Dueck, Mark Wallace, a fairly new Peterborough resident who has had a resplendent career in Toronto theatre before settling in Peterborough and Edward Charette, a Toronto actor who will play dual roles in The Pitmen Painters. New Stages is proud to have these actors be a part of our season.
Direction is by Randy Read, Set Design by Ian Burns, Lighting Design by Spencer Allen, Costume Design by Jayne Martin and Stage Management by Esther Vincent
THE PITMEN PAINTERS runs at Market Hall April 8 to 10 and 13 to 15. All performances are at 8pm except on April 10 (2pm matinee only). Tickets are $28 (including $3.00 box office surcharge) and $15 (plus $3.00 box office surcharge) for students and arts workers.
Tickets can be purchased from Market Hall. (Box Office: 705-749-1146. Online: tickets.markethall.org)