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Close the Coal House Door
Lawrence Batley Playhouse Huddersfield

One of the most controversial and cutting edge plays of the decade is heading to London to mark the 25th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike.

Maggie’s End, which is sponsored by NUM North East Area, the RMT, UNISON, UNITE and the GMB, is a dark comedy that begins with the death of Margaret Thatcher.

It will be performed for two weeks from April 7 to 18 at the 500-seat Shaw Theatre in Euston Road, an off West End venue near Kings Cross railway station.

Written by internationally acclaimed playwrights Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood, Maggie’s End premiered at the Gala theatre in Durham last October and attracted nearly 2,000 people to its sell-out performances.

The play was inspired by press reports that the New Labour government is making plans to give Baroness Thatcher a state funeral when she dies.

Trevor Wood said: “When we first heard these reports a few years ago we thought that they were a bit of political kite-flying and that the idea would be quietly buried but they’ve regularly re-surfaced. Not only that, Gordon Brown has since invited Margaret Thatcher to tea at 10 Downing Street and he has even commissioned a £100,000 portrait of her to hang permanently in the Prime Minister’s study there.”

He continued: “There’s little doubt a state funeral for Margaret Thatcher is the next step and most Labour supporters would see this as the ultimate betrayal by their party. To acknowledge her in this way would re-open many of the sores of the 1980s.

He said: “We wanted to explore what the possible repercussions of this could be, particularly in the north of England, where many communities were decimated during the Thatcher years.

“In the play, a former militant campaigner’s sense of outrage over the betrayal brings him into conflict with his only daughter, who has risen through the ranks to become a senior minister in the New Labour government, and threatens to destroy his family.”

Mr Wood added: “Despite Mrs Thatcher’s death being the catalyst for the play, Maggie’s End is really about the legacy of Thatcherism and examines how far the New Labour government has travelled from its traditional roots.”

Davey Hopper, NUM North East Area secretary, said: “Maggie’s End is a great play and we wanted to bring it to the capital.

“The British public should never forget the despicable role the Thatcher government played in destroying mining communities as well as the shipyards, steel mills and other industries.”

The play will mark the 25th anniversary of the miners’ strike, which ran from March 12, 1984, until March 3, 1995.
Mr Hopper continued: “It’s a quarter of a century since the strike started and the devastating economic and social problems resulting from the pit closure programme are still to be seen in areas throughout Britain where mining was the principal industry.

“At a time when the banks have been bailed out to the tune of £120billion, economically viable pits could have been saved at a cost (at today’s money) of £1billion. Moreover, the UK today depends on coal for half of its energy. As a consequence we import 45 million tonnes of coal a year – enough to have kept 45 pits open. The money needed to keep the pits open in the 1980s would by now have been repaid manifold. The economics of the madhouse!”

He added: “This so-called credit crunch in the UK can be traced back to Thatcher and the Tories. She decimated manufacturing industry and Britain has been reduced to a casino economy based on service industries and financial speculation for short-term gain by City whizz kids.”

Maggie’s End, which will be directed by Jack Milner, runs every evening at 7.30pm from Tuesday, April 7, to Saturday, April 18, at the Shaw theatre, Euston (next to Kings Cross railway station), London. There will be matinees at 2.30pm on Wednesdays, Friday 10th and Saturday 11th. Tickets cost from £18 (£12 concessions) and are on sale now. Contact the box office on 0871 594 3123.or book online

A state funeral for Margaret Thatcher? Which side are you on?

Maggie’s End is a dynamic and controversial black comedy about personal and political betrayal by the writers of the national and international hit plays Dirty Dusting, Waiting For Gateaux and Son of Samurai.


“Wonderful… as controversial as it is funny… go and see it” Daily Mirror

“Hard-hitting, thought-provoking and sure to be popular all over the country…top Marx” – The Northern Echo

“A play that’ll put the fire back in your belly. A darkly comic satire with great humour and equal measures of passion” Morning Star

“A play which will resonate with many… some wonderful comic touches” Newcastle Evening Chronicle

“A daring play… cannot fail to strike a chord with audiences” The Journal

“Powerful and fast-moving with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments” Durham Times
Billy Bragg was recently described by The Times newspaper as a ?national treasure?. In the two decades of his career Bragg has certainly made an indelible mark on the conscience of British music, becoming perhaps the most stalwart guardian of the radical dissenting tradition that stretches back over centuries of the country?s political, cultural and social history.
Banner Theatre is one of Britain's longest established community theatre companies, with thirty years' experience of working with marginalized and disadvantaged communities. Using a combination of theatre, music and "actuality" (recorded voices captured by video or audio), we create entertaining and thought-provoking issue-led productions based on people?s real-life experiences and in support of disenfranchised sections of society. We perform to community and trade union audiences in pubs, clubs and community centres and at rallies, festivals and conferences.
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