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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 November 2018

Theatre: The Last Seam - a lasting tribute to Mary Jackson

The cast of The Last Seam

The cast of The Last Seam   (Click to enlarge)

Nigel Smith, York Socialist Party

The Last Seam is a piece of theatre with a script based on interviews that relate the story of a Yorkshire pit community throughout the national miners' strike of 1984-85 and afterwards.

It recounts the struggles subsequent to the defeat of the strike and the massive effect this had - and is still having - on such communities.

It does this by following the lives of a list of characters, using their actual words to frame the drama.

It has been performed across Yorkshire and the north east, mostly in mining communities, to packed audiences.

The success of the piece is derived from its authenticity and the insight it shows into the lives of the people of Stainforth, near Doncaster, and the surrounding area. It illustrates well the struggles of miners and their families.

It shows the way the women came to prominence - taking the action forward across the numerous localised strikes and occupations that followed the national strike.

It also tells the stories of individuals from those communities who were affected by the events, but were not miners.

It deals with the issue of austerity and its consequences: poverty, crime, drug problems, mental health problems and suicide.

Mary Jackson, photo Paul Mattsson

Mary Jackson, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

The defeat of the miners' strike is seen as a catalyst for the economic degeneration of these communities, but the play also highlights the continuing strength of working-class culture, in spite of the pressures austerity brings. It is also, at times, very funny.

Coming right up to date, the play frames the socialist case against the EU through the character Julie - her speech met by cheers in some performances.

This fine piece of theatre hopes to find funding for a further tour or a move to TV. I hope it is successful - there are stories enough for a major series!

The play was dedicated to Mary Jackson and Sandra Lanaghan. As many of will know, Mary was a member of the Socialist Party and was a prominent campaigner throughout the miners' strike and right up to her sad passing in January this year.

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In The Socialist 14 November 2018:


What we think

A mass, trade union-led, socialist anti-racist campaign can defeat the far right


Socialism 2018

Socialism 2018: Huge confidence in the working class to change society


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US midterms: Republicans weakened - but workers' fightback needed to end Trumpism


Socialist Party news and analysis

Major private care operator puts thousands of vulnerable people at risk

Grenfell - no more cover-ups!

Tories out now to save our NHS


Socialist history

1918: revolution ends World War One - and shakes the capitalist world


Workplace news and analysis

TGI Fridays strike wins control of tips

British Gas workers need rank-and-file leadership

PCS union members: why we're backing Chris

Victory for democracy at CWU 'redesign' conference

National Education Union: vote for action on funding


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Haringey's 'Corbyn council' must refuse to make cuts!

NHS Tayside facing massive job cuts

Mansfield: keep our park open!

Newham by-election: We need anti-austerity councillors

Leeds meeting backs striking rail guards

Welsh Socialist Students campaign and meet in Swansea


Opinion

Engaging book about Corbyn's rise doesn't provide answers on how to change Labour

Theatre: The Last Seam - a lasting tribute to Mary Jackson

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