Nottingham Playhouse’s new artistic director, Adam Penford, makes his directing debut at the venue with Beth Steel’s mining drama, Wonderland, starring Matthew Cottle and Harry Hepple.
Wonderland is set in Nottinghamshire in 1983. Two 16-year-olds wait nervously at the pithead. Guided by a veteran miner, they descend into the brotherhood, banter, searing heat and liquid blue light of Welbeck Colliery.
Meanwhile in London, an American CEO known as The Butcher is brought in to reform King Coal. Pits close and a strike is called.
A Tory MP tussles with his leader’s hard line ideology, whilst an eccentric dandy is sent undercover to break up the strike.
Cracks appear on all sides as the embattled miners are torn apart trying to protect their livelihoods and families. Nothing will be the same again.
Confirmed to play Spud – a charismatic pitman at Welbeck Colliery – is Harry Hepple, best known for his performance as lead character Leo in BBC 2’s Boy Meets Girl.
Alongside him will be TV regular, Matthew Cottle who is best known for playing Martin in BBC’s Game On and, more recently, Prince Edward in Channel 4’s The Windsors.
He will be playing real-life politician Peter Walker in the Nottingham-based show.
Wonderland is a regional premiere directed by Nottingham-born Penford and is written by the daughter of Nottingham miner, Beth Steel.
Adam said: “I’m kicking off my first season as the new artistic director in February with Wonderland, a play about the miners’ strike by local writer, Beth Steel, whose dad worked at Welbeck Colliery.
“The play premiered in 2014 in London to great acclaim and it’s a real coup that its regional premiere will be at the Playhouse.
“Beth’s play is really special. It’s incredibly funny and moving, with great characters, and looks at the strike in a fresh way.
“The set design is hugely ambitious and there are movement sequences and live music; it’s going to be a visual treat!”