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Preview: PITMAN at Newbiggin & Newcastle Laing


PITMAN and new work by Marice Causey 

Newbiggin Maritime Centre
Thursday 10th November 2016

Newcastle Laing Art Gallery
Friday 11th November 2016

This double bill from Newcastle's exciting contemporary dance company includes PITMAN created and choreographed by ESC Artistic Director Eliot Smith with the kind permission of The Ashington Group Trustees. It tells the simple but inspiring real life story of a group of miners who with no formal artistic training, depicted their daily lives in a series of paintings which have become celebrated and revered in the art world, as well as providing an important visual commentary for social historians.

“The idea for PITMAN came from our Chairman Professor David Young and was raised more than three years ago as part of his lifelong fascination with miners and aspiration. His own father worked at Woodhorn Colliery for more than 50 years and gave his life and health to that. Ashington has produced two world-class opera singers, national businessmen and a myriad of world famous sportsmen. The Pitman Painters are very much part of that strand.”

The pitman painters have been celebrated through exhibitions, art books and articles and Lee Hall’s hugely successful play. To the best of ESC knowledge this is the first celebration of these unique individuals in dance form.

With intimate solos, duets and dramatic ensemble dancing the work explores the hopes, dreams and determination of the Ashington Group.

Completing the programme is a new work by the award winning international choreographer Maurice Causey known globally for his original, beautiful and highly physical works.

Maurice Causey was introduced to Eliot Smith Company while they were performing in Paris part of their 2016 Spring Tour. Maurice was enthralled by ESC performance that he agreed to Eliot Smith’s invitation to make a new work for The Company based at The Barre Studios on NewcastleGatehead Quayside.

Maurice Causey
Maurice Causey is an American-born European-based artist. In 1991, while dancing with the National Ballet of Canada, Maurice was a Principal Dancer with Ballet Frankfurt dancing almost the entire Forsythe repertoire from 1991-1999. During his 8 year stay with the company he developed knowledge working with improvisational skills developed by Forsythe and the dancers of Ballet Frankfurt, co-choreographing such works as Eidos Telos, Sleepers guts and Alien Action.

Throughout his dance career Maurice has choreographed for schools and various workshops in the companies he danced and for Galas in Prague, Korea, Sweden and Germany. He was commissioned in 2003 to make an original work for the company Stockholm 59 North which was entitled “My Fleeting Visions” to critical success. He has also choreographed and danced for Sony music in Germany for the pop group Da Boogie and various American and German television projects including Thomas Gottschalk’s Wetten, dass…? In 2011 he starred in an art film with the London based music and visual artist Mikhail Karikis entitled “Xenon” directed by David Bickerstaff. Maurice has also created and choreographed dance works for some of the worlds leading dance companies including Netherlands Dance Theatre 1. 

This double bill of exciting dance works will be premiered at the iconic Newbiggin Maritime Centre on 10 November 7:30PM followed by a performance at Laing Art Gallery on 11 November 7:30PM. Tickets are £12/£10 and are available at  

PITMAN and new work by Marice Causey is funded and supported by Arts Council England, Ashington Town Council, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Town Council, Northumberland Arts Development and in partnership with Woodhorn Museum.

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