The voices of Yorkshire mining communities are brought centre stage in John Godber’s new play Shafted! and Gary Clarke’s Company’s COAL. A poignant reminder of the loss of a once mighty British industry that went in decline 30 years ago under Thatcher’s government and ended this year, with the closure of Doncaster’s own Hatfield Colliery in July and Kellingley, North Yorkshire earlier this month.
A new comedy by John Godber, Shafted! (Thursday 18 – Saturday 20 February) follows an ex-miner and his wife on how they fought back over the past thirty years after the 1984-85 strikes. Starring John Godber himself alongside Jane Thornton, Shafted! brings back to the stage Godber’s and Thornton’s BAFTA award winning partnership.
Marking the 1984-85 strikes 30th anniversary, choreographer Gary Clarke Company’s new dance theatre show COAL (Saturday 5 March) delves on the darker underbelly and human cost of the mining industry. Commissioned by a consortium including Cast, and endorsed by The National Union of Mineworkers, COAL brings together on stage seven high class dancers, a community ensemble drawn from local mining communities and live music from Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band in an ever relevant exploration of community and solidarity.
Another political drama of the season, United We Stand is a new production about the contested Shrewsbury 24 trial, which comes to the stage at the same times as campaigners call for the release of confidential documents alleged to show undue influence on the trial by the government at the time.
Further season highlights include a bold reimagining of Bizet’s Carmen set in an oil-rich, military dictatorship in Equatorial Guinea by Zimbabwean-born Bawren Tavaziva in Africarmen (Tue 23 February). The hard and uncompromising world of 1960s Newcastle rife with crime, sex and violence in Get Carter (Tue 5 – Sat 9 April), a new production by Northern Stage of the Ted Lewis’ novel, originally set in Doncaster and first made famous in the Mike Hodge film starring Michael Caine.
Also, from the team behind Birdsong comes a new production of the West End hit Shadowlands (Tue 26 – Sat 30 April), about the love story of beloved Chronicles of Narnia author CS Lewis.
For children and families Cast, in association with Manchester’s Z-Arts, brings a twenty-first century twist on the Hans Christian Anderson classic tale Snow Queen (Thu 17 – Sat 19 March), exploring modern families and online safety.
Looking ahead to summer, Cast looks forward to hosting the world premiere of Northern Ballet’s Jane Eyre (Thu 19 – Sat 21 May), a new production for 2016 celebrating the 200th Brontë anniversary, and the return of Sadler’s Wells’ acclaimed international festival of hip hop dance theatre Breakin’ Convention (Saturday 7 May).
Graham Whitehead, Head of marketing and communications at Cast comments:
“Cast’s continued success proves that Doncaster is a town where arts and culture can and does thrive, with over eighty thousand visitors coming through the doors this year. Our new Spring Season for 2016 sees some of the biggest national companies bringing new world-class shows to Doncaster, as we continue to establish Cast as the town’s cultural living room and a cultural powerhouse for the region.”
Tickets for Cast’s Spring 2016 season are available from Cast’s Box Office on 01302 303 959 or online at castindoncaster.com.