Brass bands have provided the swelling, sonorous soundtrack to the colliery communities here in the Lancashire Coalfields for more than 150 years. At one point there were more than 500 working pits that fed the ferocious appetitive of the coal-powered cotton mills, and each pit had a band. Today they are pretty much all gone, taking a huge part of our heritage with them.
It’s this history that Brassed Off at the Oldham Coliseum honours, based on the 1996 film that featured Pete Postlethwaite and Ewan McGregor in his breakout year. While sadly McGregor hasn’t given up the glamour of Hollywood to come and star in in this production, the power of the story remains as miners and their families come to terms with the loss of their way of life.
The best bit is that Brassed Off has a live soundtrack from four local brass bands that have managed play on beyond the pit closures: The Delph Band, The Diggle Band, The Oldham Band and Boarshurst Silver Band.
There’s something incredibly sad but also immensely stirring about a live brass band, something that gets you deep down inside. It should make this show an extra special celebration of a Lancashire life that is no longer with us.