A HARD-HITTING musical comedy about the 1984 miners’ strike, seen through the eyes of women will open in the town next month.

We’re Not Going Back, co-produced by the Red Ladder Theatre Production and Union the Union, will open at Wortley Hall on March 8 - International Women’s Day.

The show, written by Chumbawumba’s Boff Whalley, features the stories and memories of real people - including 84-year-old ex-miner’s wife Betty C Cook.

She played an incredible role with Women Against Pit Closures, starting in her home village of Woolley.

Betty is described as the very epitome of the strength, resilience and sheer humour of women in the face of adversity.

She went on to co-author a book with Anne Scargill, wife of Arthur, called United by the Struggle, to right some of the wrongs and untruths previously portrayed by mainstream media.

The production of We’re Not Going Back was originally commissioned in 2014 to mark the 30th anniversary of the conflict by the North-East, Yorkshire and Humberside regions of Unite the Union, and, once again, the union is supporting the re-mounting of the show.

Victoria Brazier, Claire O’Connor, Stacey Sampson and Beccy Owen will reprise their original roles.

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Karen Reay, Unite the Union’s regional secretary, said: “Unite the Union North East, Yorkshire and Humber Region, and our very own Women’s Committee, are proud to be working with Red Ladder to re-stage We’re Not Going Back.

“Marking 40 years since the start of the miners’ strike, what better way to celebrate International Women’s Day than with this emotional and funny play, shedding light on the vital role of women during the strike.

“Looking back and learning from our history is vital to looking to the future of the trade union movement.

“This play is as poignantly relevant today, as it was ten years ago when it first ran.”

The play is set in the midst of the 1984/85 miners’ strike but, in this hard-hitting musical comedy, there are no miners.

Instead, the show follows the fortunes of three pit-village sisters - Olive, Mary and Isabel - hard hit by the government’s war against the miners, and determined to fight back with their own branch of ‘Women Against Pit Closures’.

Writer Boff Whalley said “It remains an important story to tell and instead of focusing on the battle between miners, police and government, we shine a light on the thousands of women who organised and rallied in support the strike.

“For me, the strongest part - the heart of the miners’ strike - was always the family support, specifically the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters.

“Despite the outcome of the strike, all the hardship and poverty, the main memory of that year for the women was of laughter, fun and surprise - a big adventure.

“How to take on the machinery of the capitalist state - and have a good time doing it.”

Following the opening show at Wortley Hall, the cast will go on tour across the north of England before performing again in Barnsley at St John’s Parish Hall in Staincross on March 22.