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Morecambe, Lancashire, United Kingdom
In the mornings I’m a Nursery Cook, the rest of the time a Writer. Been writing for decades: short stories, plays, poems, a sitcom and more recently flash fiction, Creative Writing MA at Lancaster Uni and now several novels. Been placed in competitions (Woman’s Own, Greenacre Writers and flashtagmanchester) and shortlisted in others (Fish, Calderdale, Short Fiction Journal). I won the Calderdale Prize 2011, was runner-up in the Ink Tears Flash Fiction Comp & won the Greenacre Writer Short Story Comp 2013. I have stories in Jawbreakers, Eating My Words, Flash Dogs Anthologies 1-3, 100 RPM and the Stories for Homes anthology. My work’s often described as ‘sweet’ but there’s usually something darker and more sinister beneath the sweetness. I love magical realism and a comedy-tragedy combination. My first novel, Queen of the World, is about a woman who believes she can influence the weather. I’m currently working on a 3rd: Priscilla Parker Reluctant Celebrity Chef. Originally from West Midlands, I love living by the sea in Morecambe, swimming, cycling, theatre, books, food, weather, sitcoms and LBBNML … SQUEEZE!

Monday, 6 June 2011

A Review of The Pitmen Painters, Wolverhampton Grand

A joint production from Live Theatre Newcastle and The National Theatre, this play is based on the true story of a group of Northumberland miners in the 30s & 40s who start painting, despite working ten-hour days down the mines. They have their art displayed in galleries and art collectors buy their paintings.
The performances from the ensemble of eight actors were all excellent.
There was a simple one location set, the shed the miners met in each week, complete  with easels and fold out wooden chairs. It could be believed to be a gallery or the posh house they visit too, just from the reactions from the characters to the new surroundings.
Often the characters gazed out into the audience when looking at a painting they were commenting on. The paintings themselves took centre stage on three screens above the actor’s heads. These also announced where a scene was set or how much time had passed between scenes.
At the end of each scene was an extremely loud noise, somewhere between a bell and a klaxon. I assume this is was what the miners would hear at the start and finish of a shift, demonstrating how they were tied to their long days down the mine the whole time. It reminded me of school so was effective at giving you that sinking feeling of having to be somewhere unpleasant and difficult and obeying the call of the bell.
Although they had a difficult life, these miners were proud to be working class and miners. Their art showed the place they lived in, where they worked and what it was like. This play was very conscious of class, demonstrated by the University man who came to teach them about art, particularly when he left them at the station when the were visiting the national gallery. ‘I’m in first class’ he said.
As well as class and politics, The Pitmen Painters explores how we look at art and emphasises the importance of being creative and expressive. Much of this play is entertaining and funny but it was sad as it ended with the realisation that the wonderful new world they were expecting after the war did not come to fruition.


A month ago I had no stories online, now I have four. I’m calling it progress! The fourth one is 'Wind' on 330words where you write a story in under 330 words from being inspired by a photo … 

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