Catherine Street, London WC2B 5LA

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The Pitmen Painters

3.5 star rating3.5 star rating3.5 star rating3.5 star rating

Closed April 14, 2012

The most deeply satisfying, enthralling and life (and art) affirming evening in town.

Mark Shenton, The Stage

Why See The Pitmen Painters?


The Pitmen Painters is an immensely amusing and profound reconnaissance into the human need for art, creative expression and personal growth. With delightfully vivid characters and subtle, comic class commentary, Lee Hall's sincere and compelling play, based on real life events, is an adaptation of a book by William Feaver, an art critic who documented the Ashington painters' lives.

Writer Lee Hall is best known for his work with Billy Elliot which was both a 2000 movie and a highly acclaimed musical which continues to run successfully in the West End.


In 1934 a group of miners from Ashington, Northumbria, determined to grow creatively, hired a professor to teach them art appreciation in the evenings. A new and invigorating world is opened to the miners, who discover not only access to an elitist domain but the liberation of self-expression. The group soon opts for practice rather than theory and eagerly begins to paint. Gradually the miners gain friends and recognition in avante garde art circles. As the years pass, the Ashington painters' work is held in high esteem, some of it sought out by famed and affluent collectors to form part of prestigious collections. But the push-pull of their two vastly different lives - one of High Art, the other of working class physical labour - ultimately drives decisions.

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Additional Information


Opening night: 5 October 2011


Pitmen Painters is suitable for audiences aged eight and upwards

Run time

Two hours and 40 minutes with one 15 minute intermission

Cast and Creative


Ian Kelly as Robert Lyon
Michael Hodgson as Harry Wilson
David Whitaker as Jimmy Floyd
Brian Lonsdale as Young Lad/Ben
Nicholson Trevor Fox as Oliver Kilbourn
Joe Caffrey as George Brown


Director - Max Roberts
Design - Gary McCann
Lighting Design - Douglas Kuhrt
Sound Design - Martin Hodgson

What you thought

1 reviews, average rating: (5.0 Stars)

5.0 star rating

Heather Wing: “Moving, enlightening and inspiring”

I saw The Pitmen Painters last night and was intensely moved by the play.... more

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