Play chronicling miners’ fight for justice coming to Borders at the double

Members of the cast of Northumberland Theatre Company's latest production, The Stars Look Down.
Members of the cast of Northumberland Theatre Company's latest production, The Stars Look Down.

A touring production of a stage version of a classic novel chronicling a long-running campaign by miners for justice can be seen at two Borders venues later this month.

Northumberland Theatre Company is staging 26 performances of The Stars Look Down at venues across North Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and the Borders during September and October, starting in Durham City and finishing in its home-town of Amble.

It can be seen at the Currie Public Memorial Hall in Lilliesleaf on Thursday, September 19, and Longformacus Village Hall on Sunday, September 22.

For details of performance times and ticket prices, go to www.northumberlandtheatre.co.uk

The Stars Look Down is a revival of a 2004 adaptation of AJ Cronin’s 1935 novel of that name for the stage by Alex Ferguson.

Made into a film starring Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood in 1940, it’s billed as a gritty but uplifting family saga, telling the story of a miner’s son fighting to get better wages and conditions for men working in dangerous pits in north-east England.

His struggles see him fall in love, become a teacher and struggle to cope with the fallout from a pit disaster that kills many of the men he knows.

Director Gillian Hambleton said: “The pits are part of local history in the North East. They were incredibly dangerous places. Unfortunately, those in charge were often motivated by greed and had less concern for the safety of their workers than they should have had.

“This is an uplifting play that leaves no doubt there’s nothing stronger than family and the bonds of love.

“Our cast have all worked incredibly hard so you can expect a rollercoaster ride of tragedy and triumph that transports the audience right to the coal face itself.

“Our roots are firmly within local communities and rural locations where residents may find it difficult to travel to traditional theatres.

“We work hard to select productions we know will really speak to our audiences.

“The Stars Look Down is so relevant to our area. It really shows how hard working in the pit was – something that many North East families know all too well – but what could be quite a dark story transforms into a demonstration of just how tough the human spirit is and what people can achieve when they put their minds and hearts to it.”