A Wonderland call out to miner friends and Brassed Off lovers

A Wonderland call out to miner friends and Brassed Off lovers

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

If you enjoyed the Touring Consortium's production of Brassed Off, don't miss the opportunity to watch Beth Steel's new play marking the thirtieth anniversary of the miners' strike. Hampstead Theatre and the Guardian will be live-streaming this weekend's final performance of Wonderland - and it's free to watch from 7.30pm on Saturday 26 July 2014. By Brassed Off producer Jenny King.

Wonderland at Hampstead Theatre
The cast of Wonderland, at Hampstead Theatre

I was delighted to hear that Hampstead Theatre has teamed up with the Guardian to live-stream the last performance this Saturday 26 July 2014 of its wonderful premiere production of Beth Steel’s Wonderland.

This is a magnificent new play about the miners’ strike. I went to see a preview and was knocked out by the depth and breadth of its vision, emotion and intelligence. A terrific piece, in my view. Intelligent, visceral and finally delivering a fierce emotional punch between the eyeballs. Wow.

‘It's a massive, meaty drama, which begins with economist Milton Friedman expounding his theory of monetarism and then quickly moves underground to the harsh realities of the coal face and the lives of men who in the space of the year went from being the nation's "salt of the earth" to being denounced by Margaret Thatcher's government and newspapers as "scum".’ - Beth Steel

I was so impressed with the scale and imagination of Wonderland that I asked Beth Steel (right) if she’d be interested in adapting our forthcoming Touring Consortium production of Aldous Huxley’s classic 1932 novel A Brave New World, for autumn 2015. Unfortunately for us, this rising star has already started work on her next big project.

After my experience with touring Brassed Off – which, of course, also covered the miners’ strike, albeit in a very different way, and was a huge hit on tour earlier this year – I also had a whimsical wish to tour Wonderland.

With its incredible and hugely ambitious set, that plunges cast and audiences deep into the mine, it would be impossible to take it to all the same venues we visited with Brassed Off. But how about touring artistic director Edward Hall's productions to non-theatrical venues, like coal-mining museums or mining welfare clubs? I may just suggest that to Ed and the powers-that-be at Hampstead Theatre.

Watch this space, I say. And, in the meantime, watch the live-stream on Saturday.

To watch Wonderland online on Saturday 26 July 2014, visit www.hampsteadtheatre.com or www.theguardian.com. An on-demand version will also be available for 72 hours immediately after the live-stream on Hampstead Theatre and the Guardian's websites.