The Pitmen Painters are coming to St Albans stage

PUBLISHED: 10:33 30 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:33 30 October 2019

The Company of Ten's next production will be Lee Hall's The Pitmen Painters at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. Picture: Nick Clarke / Abbey Theatre

The Company of Ten's next production will be Lee Hall's The Pitmen Painters at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. Picture: Nick Clarke / Abbey Theatre

Abbey Theatre

Company of Ten's next production in St Albans will be Lee Hall's The Pitmen Painters - a funny and moving story of self-improvement against all the odds.

The Company of Ten's next production will be Lee Hall's The Pitmen Painters at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. Picture: Nick Clarke / Abbey TheatreThe Company of Ten's next production will be Lee Hall's The Pitmen Painters at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. Picture: Nick Clarke / Abbey Theatre

Back in the 1930s, a group of Northumbrian miners decided to better themselves by joining an art appreciation class.

They wanted to understand what all the fuss was about.

Before too long they were wielding paint brushes for themselves.

Working away in their draughty army hut they flourished, and word of their exceptionally expressive work spread, impressing the very highest levels of the British art establishment.

The Company of Ten's next production will be Lee Hall's The Pitmen Painters at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. Picture: Nick Clarke / Abbey TheatreThe Company of Ten's next production will be Lee Hall's The Pitmen Painters at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. Picture: Nick Clarke / Abbey Theatre

This is the true story on which Lee Hall based his smash hit play The Pitmen Painters, the funny, feel-good, moving tale of a group of ordinary men who achieved extraordinary things.

And it will be the Company of Ten's November production.

For director Jenny Kilcast this is very much a story of our time.

"These men laboured day after day deep underground to produce the raw material to keep Britain powered," said Jenny.

"They weren't highly thought of by society in general, but with a little help and guidance and with their extraordinary determination they proved that they were the match of any art establishment.

"Their paintings capture every aspect of life in and around their mining community, from scenes at the kitchen table and in the allotment, to the dangerous world of the coal face itself.

"The play details so beautifully their hopes and dreams, as well as their strong camaraderie on their road to becoming a world-wide, working-class phenomenon.

"So much so that in the 1980s, the group's permanent collection of paintings was the first western exhibition in China after the Cultural Revolution."

Performances take place on the Abbey Theatre main stage from Friday, November 8 to Saturday, November 9 at 8pm, and on Sunday, November 10 at 2.30pm.

There are then shows from Tuesday, November 12 to Saturday, November 16 at 8pm.

To book tickets go to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or call the box office on 01727 857861.

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