Northern Stage and Live Theatre in Newcastle Upon Tyne are thrilled to announce that they are joining forces to revive Alan Plater's play CLOSE THE COALHOUSE DOOR as a memorial production following his death in 2010. Directed by Samuel West, the production will open at Northern Stage on Wednesday 18 April, with previews from 13 April and will then tour the UK until June.
CLOSE THE COALHOUSE DOOR, based on the stories of Sid Chaplin with songs by Alex Glasgow, is a musical play which was written and first performed in Newcastle in 1968, charting all the major strikes, victories and disappointments in British mining history from the formation of the first unions in 1831. The story is structured around joyful and heart-tugging music by Alex Glasgow, inspired by north eastern folk songs of each period, performed by highly-skilled actor-musicians.
Alan Plater CBE was one of the greatest writers of the golden age of British television drama. He wrote Fortunes of War, The Beiderbecke Affair, The Last of the Blonde Bombshells and A Very British Coup (Channel 4). He founded the Spring Street Theatre in Hull, home to Hull Truck; and alongside Close the Coalhouse Door, his work for the stage includes The Fosdyke Saga and Sweet William, as well as Tales From The Backyard, Charlie's Trousers and In Blackberry Time, also based on stories by Sid Chaplin, all directed by Max Roberts, Artistic Director of Live Theatre.
CLOSE THE COALHOUSE DOOR will tour the country whilst THE PITMEN PAINTERS, another Live Theatre production set in the mining community, continues to enjoy huge success in the West End. Writer Lee Hall, (best-known for his global smash hit musical Billy Elliot) has been commissioned to revisit the piece with a new ending and a new song to bring it up to date, as the play was written before the critical 1984 – 5 miners' strike.
Samuel West is an actor and director. His theatre work includes title roles in Hamlet and Richard II for the RSC, and Jeffrey Skilling in Enron (Royal Court/West End). His films include Notting Hill, Van Helsing and Howards End. He plays Zak Gist in the new ITV series Eternal Law. He's directed ten plays and two operas, including acclaimed London productions of Dealer's Choice and Waste. Sam was artistic director of Sheffield Theatres from 2005-2007, where he revived The Romans in Britain.
Lee Hall was born in Newcastle in 1966. He was commissioned by Live Theatre to write Pitmen Painters, which transferred from Live Theatre to The National Theatre, Broadway and the West End; and wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay and later the book for Billy Elliot. Other theatre work includes Cooking with Elvis (2000), The Servant with Two Masters, Mr Puntilla and His Man Matti, Mother Courage, and the acclaimed Spoonface Steinberg. Other screenplays include the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Lee also worked with Richard Curtis on the screenplay for Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's War Horse, released in December 2011.