Playwriting festival marks miners’ strike

Chesterfield Pomegranate Theatre.
Chesterfield Pomegranate Theatre.

The Pomegranate’s annual New Playwriting Festival has taken a different format this year. Over ten days, audiences and budding playwrights were invited to watch the process of taking a play from page to stage by joining a series of workshops, and rehearsals of six new plays.

The culmination was a studio-style rehearsed reading of Snap, by Philip Wakefield, a one-act play based around the 1984 miners’ strike.

Festival director Richard Stone explained how the rehearsal process enables actors to develop characters, and authors to see how lighting, sound effects and other devices can help bring their words to life.

Local professional actors Sue Earnshaw, Rob Laughlin, Norman Mills and Darren Johnson played a variety of parts in the hard-hitting hour-long drama, following a family through the strike and its aftermath and illustrating the changes it brought about, dividing communities and friendships, but also instilling confidence in women who campaigned.

LYNNE PATRICK