The Last Miner gives children a history lesson

This article is from 2010.

The Last Miner gives children a history lesson

Underground puppetry tells story from the coal era

Once a vibrant industry, British coal mining has been relegated to museum shelves and miner’s memories. But through its atmospheric new show, Tortoise in a Nutshell aims to evoke the feeling of life underground.

‘There’s something almost mythical in the idea that there are abandoned caverns beneath our feet that were once full of activity but are now quiet,’ says artistic director Ross MacKay. ‘Mining is a huge part of our heritage and it’s amazing to see how many towns and villages were built around coal mines, how strong the community was and how it’s still present today.’

Based around the idea of acceptance and moving on, The Last Miner uses puppetry and a unique soundscape to depict an ex-miner still living down below. ‘The score gives the show an amazing sense of depth,’ explains MacKay, ‘that allows the audience to imagine the mine shaft extending well below their feet and beyond the walls of the auditorium.’

Hill Street Theatre, 226 6522, 8–30 Aug (not 10, 17 & 24) 3pm, £7 (£5). Previews 5–7 Aug, 3pm, £5.

The Last Miner

  • 4 stars

Young Edinburgh-based children's theatre company Tortoise in a Nutshell present their Fringe-acclaimed tale of a forgotten underground soul, the last miner. Part of Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival.

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