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Brassed ON - miners' band to the rescue after theatre show row
A REPLACEMENT has been found for a police band that quit a theatre show amid vociferous protests over their involvement.
Durham Miners' Association Band has agreed to take over from Durham Constabulary Brass Band in a production of Brassed Off, at Darlington Civic Theatre, next month.
The mining community, including Durham Miners Assocition itself, had objected to a band with police links taking part in the show, which tells the tale of a colliery band battling for its future amid pit closures and job losses.
Although the police band is made up of civilians, objectors felt its involvement was inappropriate given the resentment that still lingers over the role officers played in the 1984 Miners’ Strike.
Producer Jenny King, of the Touring Consortium Theatre Company, which is staging Brassed Off, acknowledged that it would have been much easier if the miners' association band had been booked in the first place, rather than the police band.
She said: “We take this show all over the country and everywhere we go, we need local bands, if possible with a connection to the mining industry.
“We have two or three people sourcing bands and we are incredibly grateful to Durham Miners' Association for coming to the rescue.
“The show will be all the better for it, their commitment will be fantastic.”
Meanwhile, The Northern Echo has learnt that Cockerton Band, in Darlington, was approached to take part more than a year ago.
Chairman John Steel said: “We said we would consider it, but [the producers] were not prepared to discuss a fee.
“We could not take on a job like that without some sort of retainer.”
Mr Steel said the band was not approached for a second time.
Ms King added that all brass bands used in the production are amateurs, as to pay professional rates would fall foul of the Musicians’ Union.
She confirmed that, although expenses are paid, the miners' association band will not receive a fee for its role in the production, nor would the police band had it taken part.
Brassed Off runs from March 18 to 22, to book visit darlingtoncivic.co.uk or call 01325-486555.