Barry Hines’ lost play about the Battle of Orgreave to be resurrected

A lost play about the infamous miners’ strike of the 1980s, written by acclaimed author Barry Hines (Kes, Threads), is to be performed at the Kelham Island Museum on June 18.

After the Strike was written in 1985 and details the graphic scenes of police violence against striking miners at the Battle of Orgreave a year earlier in 1984. The play was found  in Hines’s archive which was donated to Sheffield University after his death in 2016. Eleanor Hines left a note with the works in which she said: “I have a vague memory of ‘the powers that be’ not being interested in the strike any more.” The play has been left untouched for 35 years.

Dr Dave Forrest from the university’s School of English said: “In 1984 Barry Hines was at his creative peak. Threads, his masterpiece, had just been broadcast on the BBC. The drama-documentary’s chilling depiction of the effects of a nuclear attack on Sheffield was a thinly veiled allegory of Northern working class life in Thatcher’s Britain.

James Fox

“Its depiction of the heartless and inhumane destruction of the ‘threads’ that hold together communities felt eerily prescient a year later as Hines witnessed the miners’ strike first hand. As his close collaborator Tony Garnett put it, Hines, the son and grandson of a miner, ‘mourned’ what he saw as the wanton destruction of communities and was particularly exercised by the events at Orgreave and their consequences. As a committed working class writer, Hines felt duty bound to document what he had seen over the course of the strike.

“This performance is now a chance for people to experience one of Hines’ unpublished pieces of work for the first time while also celebrating his legacy and commemorating the struggles of miners and their families on the 35th anniversary of The Battle of Orgreave.”

Tickets for the event cost £3.79. On the night there will be a welcome and introduction from Dr David Forrest, a short talk from Women Against Pit Closures and the premiere of After The Strike.

More information about the play can be found here.

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