8:00am Monday 2nd July 2012
By Helen Russell
FOLK musicians have teamed up to create a musical marking the anniversary of a North-East pit disaster.
The production, called She’s Fired, was written in memory of the 164 miners who died in an explosion in Seaham Colliery, County Durham, in September 1880, and will be performed at Sedgefield Folk Festival, this summer.
The play started as a monologue penned by former miner Bob Lowery, from Seaham, who was a blacksmith.
He decided to record his narrative onto CD and find some music to accompany it.
A friend introduced Mr Lowery to John Wrightson, from Murton, who fronts the John Wrightson Band, and he spent several weeks writing five songs to accompany the play, which also features several well-known mining folk songs by other artists.
Rehearsals are now under way for the play, whose cast comprises Mr Wrightson’s band – Joan Edmondson, Ken Jobson and Frank Porter; Ray Thom, from Middlesbrough, who will perform Close The Coal House Door; Mr Lowery’s wife, Philomena, who will sing Coal Before Men; Andy McLaughlin; the Loose Connection trio; Derek Reed and his son, Blake; and pianist Garth Hodgson.
The show culminates in the whole cast singing The Working Man.
Mr Lowery said: “The play is based on the Seaham disaster, but is also based loosely on the people I knew when I worked at the pit, and my family. It is not factual.”
Mr Wrightson, who was an electrician down the mines for many years, said: “We do not know of anyone who has done anything like this before. I think it will go well.”
The performance takes place at the parish hall, Sedgefield, on August 30, from 7pm to 9pm.
Entry is free for those with a weekend pass to the festival.
Visit sedgefieldfolkfestival.co.uk or call 01740-621347.
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