A Miner Role for Sex God Scargill

The Journal (Newcastle, England), July 30, 2005 | Go to article overview

A Miner Role for Sex God Scargill


Byline: By Tamzin Lewis

With his arrowhead eyes and his ginger comb-over, the role of sex symbol didn't come naturally to Arthur Scargill.

But he is cast as the leading man in a new play set during the Miners' Strike of 1984. We Love You Arthur is a coming of age story of two 14-year-old girls from Easington Colliery.

The character of Arthur doesn't actually appear during the course of the play; he is more of an unattainable goal. He is a romantic figure for the teenage Julie and Lisa, as he battles to save pits from closure. The firebrand charisma of the National Union of Mineworkers leader captures their imagination and the girls are desperate to meet their militant hero.

The new play was originally written by Fiona Evans as a radio drama, which she adapted for stage. It is making its premiere at South Shields before appearing at the Edinburgh Festival.

Fiona, from Sunderland, says: "An Arts Council grant enabled me to work with actors, actresses and a director, to overcome staging difficulties during a week long workshop. It was really positive for me as a writer and gave me a further handle on the characters."

She adds: "I was surprised how much of the original play did work. Sometimes what is in your head translates well and at other times the actor's interpretation is better."

Fiona wrote the idea as a quirky five minute piece during a New Writing North course, which she was then able to develop into a play. The 35-year-old's imagination was triggered by a friend describing to her how difficult it was for her father, who went back to work during the Miners Strike. She then did her research.

She says: "I interviewed ex-miners, their families and union workers. It was really interesting. I met men and women who hadn't spoken about the strike since it finished. It still seemed raw and some cried. Whole communities are still living with the consequences of the pits closing."

We Love You Arthur sees the strike through the eyes of Julie and Lisa. …

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