Receiving its stage premiere at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, Queens of the Coal Age is based on the inspiring true story of four extraordinary women who went underground to occupy a Lancashire colliery during the wave of mine closures in 1993. Written by Maxine Peake, this new play follows Anne, Dot, Lesley and Elaine as they head eighty metres underground to make their stand for Women Against Pit Closures.
It’s 1993 and the Government may be winding down the Parkside Colliery in Newton-le-Willows but for Anne, Dot, Lesley and Elaine the fight is not over yet. Disguised as teachers these four ordinary women head down the pit, their bras and knickers stuffed with contraband – Nicorette gum and ‘Coal not Dole’ stickers – to make a stand for their families, their community and themselves. Facing bribery and threats from the top, they stand resolute and pass the time by making tissue roses and walking imaginary dogs. As they dig in for the long days ahead those up top start to realise that these ladies are not for turning.
This witty re-telling of the 5-day occupation of Parkside Colliery in Newton-Le-Willows is directed by Bryony Shanahan, the Royal Exchange’s new Associate Artistic Director.
Maxine Peake and Bryony Shanahan bring Queens of the Coal Age, a tale of the indomitable women and their battle against the pit closures to Manchester’s Royal Exchange, in co-production with the New Vic Theatre, before transferring to Stoke-on Trent.