FREE TICKETS! Digging In – A new play by Deborah McAndrew – June 26th




It’s 1984 and life is complicated for nine-year-old Gary Hargreaves. His mum is pregnant, his sister is a teenage pain in the neck and his dad is on strike.

Through the eyes of Gary, played by Howard Chadwick and his sister Mandy, played by Ruth Cataroche we find out what life was like for the children of North Staffordshire mining families during that turbulent year.

Written by award winning playwright Deborah McAndrew (An August Bank Holiday Lark, Ugly Duck) and directed by Conrad Nelson (The Grand Gesture; An August Bank Holiday Lark) of Claybody Theatre, Digging In is based on interviews with the real life children of the strike.

With original music by Rebekah Hughes, and a set designed by Sue Condie, Digging In is a reminder to those who still remember the Miners’ Strike, as well as bringing the story to a new generation, thirty years on.

Commissioned by the North Staffs Miners Wives Action Group as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded project Miners strike 1984-1985: 30 Years On, Digging In will tour to five schools in the City, before ending with a finale performance at Mitchell Arts Centre on Friday 26 June, 7pm.

Brenda Proctor, Chair of the North Staffs Miners Wives Action Group said, “We are thrilled to be working with Claybody Theatre to bring this story to a whole new generation of children in North Staffordshire.”

Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Reyahn King, Head of HLF West Midlands, said: “This is an excellent project for to engage young people with the heritage of North Staffordshire and will provide a new generation of children and young people with an in-depth look at this period of unrest.”

The performance will be followed by a screening of a new film ‘I Support My Dad’ a documentary produced by award winning local film company Inspired Film and Video, which examines how the Miners Strike of 1984/85 effected the children and young people whose parents went out on strike.

The evening will culminate in a special performance by 26-piece Florence Colliery Band.

Tickets for the evening are free, but booking is required in advance. Tickets can be reserved online at, in person or via box office at Mitchell Arts Centre 01782 409307