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Samuel J Friedman Theatre

In 1934, a group of Ashington miners hired a professor to teach an art appreciation evening class. Rapidly abandoning theory in favor of practice, the pitmen began to paint. Within a few years, the most avant-garde artists became their friends and their work was acquired by prestigious collections; but every day they worked, as before, down the mine.

This show is closed.

Performances ended on Dec. 12, 2010.

Samuel J Friedman Theatre

261 West 47th Street
New York, NY 10036

Previews Sep 14, 2010
Opening Sep 30, 2010
Closing Dec 12, 2010

Story

What Is the Story of The Pitmen Painters?
Lee Hall’s new drama tells the true story of a group of miners in Newcastle, England, in the 1930s who discover a passion for painting and become celebrated artists in their own right. The play begins as the miners, who’ve already spent 12 hours underground in the “pit,” gather for an art appreciation class taught by a visiting professor. Stymied by an attempt to engage his pupils with photos of famous paintings none of them have ever heard of, the teacher gets the bright idea to let the miners learn by doing. The results are spectacular: The so-called Ashington Group becomes the toast of London, attracting patrons and gallery shows. Conflict looms when the most talented artist, Oliver Kilbourn, is offered a weekly stipend by a wealthy collector. Will he leave the mines and pursue his passion full-time?

Critics' Reviews

"The Pitmen Painters has much of importance to say about the nature of art. Lee Hall, who infuses the proceedings with several highly amusing episodes, renders his characters in vivid strokes that never succumb to caricature. Expertly acted by the ensemble and evocatively directed by Max Roberts, the production also gains tremendous impact from its showcasing of re-creations of the miners' actual artworks."

Review by Frank Scheck from The Hollywood Reporter

"An entertaining and touching piece of entertainment that is intelligent, poignant and thought-provoking."

Review by Terry Teachout from The Wall Street Journal

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