Drama on Three - The Pitmen Painters
Sunday 23 December 2007 20:00-21:45 (Radio 3)
By Lee Hall. Inspired by the book by William Feaver, Billy Elliott writer Lee Hall questions why the arts seem to belong to the privileged few. Seventy years ago, in an old army hut in Ashington, Northumberland, a group of miners met to talk about art. They wanted their visiting lecturer to explain the secret of a remote world, but he did better than that, he got them painting and put that world in their hands.
1 hour 45 minutes
The Pitmen Painters
"An inspiring, important new play by Lee Hall. The Pitmen Painters asks - as Hall did in Billy Elliot - why the arts seem to belong to a privileged cabal. What makes others - that's to say, most of the population - feel excluded? I hope the Culture Secretary has booked a ticket, because the question - the main point he should be tackling - will probably never again be put so buoyantly, in a play that's both deliciously comic and grave.
Seventy years ago, in an old army hut in Ashington, Northumberland, a group of miners met to talk about art. Most of them had started down the pit when they were 12; none of them had been inside an art gallery; they wanted their visiting university lecturer to explain the secret of a remote world. He did better than that: he got them painting and put that world into their hands. They painted ponies hauling coal, women pumping water for washday, men showing off whippets. 'We made our life into art,' one of them says. 'It don't get better than that.'"
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
"What struck me most about the Pitmen Painters was that despite being a group of very ordinary men whose personal histories had been harsh and brutal: surviving war, personal tragedy, and the scantest of educations, they wrote knowledgeably about Cezanne and Picasso, and were ardent devotees of Turner, Ruskin and Blake.
The idea that art is somehow a commodity, that culture is something one consumes rather than takes part in, is, of course, a very modern notion. Culture is something we share and we are all the poorer for anyone excluded from it."
Lee Hall August 2007
George Brown ...... Deka Walmsley
Oliver Kilbourn ...... Christopher Connel
Jimmy Floyd ...... David Whitaker
Young lad, Ben Nicholson ...... Brian Lonsdale
Harry Wilson ...... Michael Hodgson
Robert Lyon ...... Ian Kelly
Susan Parks ...... Lisa McGrillis
Helen Sutherland, Vera Brown ...... Phillippa Wilson
Directed for radio by Kate Rowland.
Type : mpeg 1 layer III
Bitrate : 128
Mode : joint stereo
Frequency : 32000 Hz
Length : 01:43:05
Encoder : Lame 3.96