New Musical Sees the Miners’ Strike Through the Eyes of Three Sisters

Red Ladder Theatre Company presents the world premier tour of:



Written by Boff Whalley

Directed by Rod Dixon


BOX OFFICE: 01226 327 000

Red Ladder Theatre Company tours this autumn with a new musical comedy WE’RE NOT GOING BACK, looking at the 1984/85 miners’ strike through the eyes of three headstrong sisters in a South Yorkshire pit village.

Written by ex-Chumbawamba guitarist and writer Boff Whalley, and directed by Red Ladder’s Artistic Director Rod Dixon, WE’RE NOT GOING BACK is a musical commissioned by the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regions of Unite the Union, and is performed by Victoria BrazierClaire Marie Seddon and Stacey Sampson.

WE’RE NOT GOING BACK is about the 1984/85 miners’ strike. More or less. But in this hard-hitting musical comedy there are no miners. Instead, we follow the fortunes of three sisters –Olive, Mary and Isabel – hit hard by the Government’s war against the miners and determined to set up a branch of Women Against Pit Closures.

It’s February1984, and as the rumour mill stirs with developments of impending pit closures, the coal miners’ unions are drawn into a battle of attrition against an unbending government. Forced into poverty, miners and their families become part of a strike that will resonate through the coming decades.

But for many people, the war fought between politicians, police and pickets took a back seat to the fight to hold together families, friendships and community – fought on the battleground of living room and soup kitchen, meeting hall and social club. It was a battle fought with laughter and songs, with knees-ups, punch-ups and piss-ups.

With music, comedy and grit, the three sisters embrace the values of the ’84 strike and underline the empowerment; determination and vulnerability those communities were faced with in this war.

Writer Boff Whalley comments:

“30 years ago I was part of a miners’ strike support group in Leeds. It was a strange time – there was a real sense of ‘taking stock’ of what my politics were. For me, the strongest part – the heart – of the miners’ strike was the family support, specifically the women. Despite the strike’s outcome, all the hardship and poverty, the main memory of that year for the women was of laughter, fun and surprise – a big adventure. How to take on the machinery of the capitalist state; and have a good time doing it. I knew this feeling had to be the underlying belly of the play.”

Boff Whalley was a founder member of Chumbawamba. His past theatre writing credits for Red Ladder include RIOT, REBELLION & BLOODY INSURRECTION, SEX & DOCKS & ROCK ‘N’ ROLL, BIG SOCIETY (starring ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’ panellist Phill Jupitus) and WRONG ‘UN.

Rod Dixon became Artistic Director of Red Ladder in 2006. His past theatre director credits for Red Ladder include WHERE’S VIETNAM?, FORGOTTEN THINGS, RIOT, REBELLION & BLOODY INSURRECTION, UGLY, SEX & DOCKS & ROCK ‘N’ ROLL, BIG SOCIETY, PROMISED LAND, THE THING ABOUT PSYCHOPATHS and PLAYING THE JOKER.

Victoria Brazier trained at the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama. Theatre credits include: THE BORROWERS with West Yorkshire Playhouse, HOBSONS CHOICE with The Royal Exchange and A GREAT WAR with JB Shorts. Television credits include: BOY A with Channel 4, LAND GIRLS with BBC One and DOCTORS with BBC Television.

Claire-Marie Seddon trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in musical theatre and has extensive training in performing arts and musical theatre in various institutions in the UK. Theatre credits include: 162 BARS OUT with The National Theatre of Scotland, THE KEY TO A QUIET LIFE with Dead Earnest and WAR OF THE WORLDS along with various others at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Television credits include CHILDREN IN NEED and TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT WITH JOHN BARROWMAN with BBC Television.

Stacey Sampson’s television credits include: THIS IS ENGLAND ’88 with Warp Films and Channel 4, THE SYNDICATE and WAKING THE DEAD with BBC Television. Sampson’s theatre credits include: THE HISTORY BOYS with Sheffield Crucible, WATERMARK at Belfast Waterfront Hall and a national tour of THE BORROWERS.

Red Ladder champions new writing, particularly that which challenges or agitates. It is a radical theatre company with 45 years of history; acknowledged as one of Britain’s leading national touring companies producing high quality theatre contributing to social change and global justice.

#Werenotgoingback #BoffWhalley #BarnsleyCivic #RodDIXON #minersstrike

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