Creatives and Credits:
Choreographer: Eliot Smith
Music and Sections:
Coal Tubs off the Way
Nature - Cave Dripping Water Sound Effect. Composer: Hollywood Sound Effects
There is No Safe Side But the Side of Truth - The Miners Hymns. Composer: Johann Johannsson
The Bar Playing Dominoes
Bar Ambience (Pub People Talk Talking Background Noise) - Ambient Sound Effects. Composer: Finnolia Sound Effects
Jeep Jockey Jump - In the mood for Glen Miller Vol. 1. Composer: The Jack Million Band
Fish and Chips
Background - Fish & Chip Shop Sound Effect - Hollywood Sound Effects Vol. 2. Composer: Hollywood Sound Effects
The Old Fisher's Invitation - 'From Tyne to Tweed’ – The Northumberland Anthology. Composer: David Haslam
Dawn In The Country With Birds Chirping - Sound Effects: Nature. Composer: Sound Effects
Northumberland - John Jeffreys: Of Fire and Dew. Composer: Jonathan Veria & Shelly Katz
Jazz Band Parade
Carnival Crowd - Essential Home Video Sound Effects. Composer: BBC Sound Effects Library
Songs of the Tyne - The Music Lives On Now the Mines Have Gone. Composer: Beakpark and Esh Colliery Band
The Cause of Labour is the Hope of the World - The Miners Hymns. Composer: Johann Johannsson
Progging the Mat
1. String of Pearls - In the mood for Glen Miller Vol. 1. Composer: The Jack Million Band
1. They Being Dead Yet Speaketh - The Miners Hymns. Composer: Johann Johannsson
The Xmas Tree
1. O Christmas Tree - International Staff Band of The Salvation Army
2. The Joy of Christmas - The Salvation Army
Costume: Eliot Smith
Premiered: Newbiggin Maritime Center, Thursday 10 Nov 2016
Supported and Funded by Arts Council England, Northumberland Arts Development, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Town Council and Ashington Town Council.
PITMAN was created in partnership with Woodhorn Museum. Special thanks to Bill Bell.
Eliot Smith describes the work;
With the kind permission of The Ashington Group Trustees; PITMAN tells the simple but inspiring real life story of a group of miners who with no formal artistic training, depicted their daily lives in a series of paintings which have become celebrated and revered in the art world, as well as providing an important visual commentary for social historians.
With intimate solos, duets and dramatic ensemble dancing the work explores the hopes, dreams and determination of the Ashington Group.
The pitman painters have been celebrated through exhibitions, art books and articles and Lee Hall’s hugely successful play. To the best of our knowledge this is the first celebration of these unique individuals in dance form.
The idea of PITMAN originally came from David Young, the chairman of ESC, himself the son of a miner who had worked at Woodhorn Colliery for nearly fifty years. David grew up in Ashington in the 1950s and he raised the idea of creating a work based on the pitman painters more than three years ago.
The Ashington Group, known globally as The Pitmen Painters, is the inspiration for PITMAN. It tells the simple but inspiring real life story of a group of miners who, with no formal artistic training, depicted their daily lives in a series of paintings which have become celebrated and revered in the art world, as well as providing an important visual commentary for social historians.
I have selected nine paintings (Coal Tubs off the Way by George Brown, The Bar Playing Dominoes by Andrew Foreman, Fish and Chips by Fred Laidler, Dawn-Ashington Colliery by Oliver Kilbourn, Jazz Band Parade by J F Harrison, The Bowler by Len Robinson, Progging the Mat by Oliver Kilbourn, The Miner by Leslie Brownrigg and The Xmas Tree Harry Wilson) that I believe are the most revealing yet simple works created by the Ashington Group. The story of these painters has been celebrated throughout the world of art, as well as in the theatre (Lee Hall) but this I believe is the first depiction through dance. Although working people have displayed talents not traditionally associated with their class it largely went unnoticed. The WEA, from which the painters directly benefited was a positive force in realising that latent potential. The creation of Pitman has led me to revisit an issue that has always fascinated me; the link between art in all its diverse forms and the working class. With intimate and emotional solos, duets and dramatic ensemble dancing the work explores the hopes, dreams and talent of the Ashington Group.