A HEARTRENDING exploration of a mining tragedy helped a drama group to reach the finals of a prestigious theatre festival.

An emotional recreation of the Aberfan mining disaster helped the Saltburn ’53 Drama Group beat competition from across the country to win the semi-finals of the All England Theatre Festival.

A two day festival staged at Saltburn’s Community Theatre earlier this month saw the group compete for their place in the finals in front of a packed audience.

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Their play, Moles and the Habits of Birds, was inspired by the aftermath of the Aberfan tragedy, which saw the collapse of a colliery spoil tip bury a village school and nearby houses.

Adjudicator Robert Meadows described the play – featuring a cast ranging in age from 11 to 82 – as “a community honouring another community”.

Director Susan Pierce said: “We poured our hearts into this production, broke our backs in rehearsals to tell the story for those who can no longer tell stories.

“I’m so incredibly proud of each and every one of our cast and crew.”

The performance helped the group to win the coveted Silver Stag award and a place in the grand finals of the competition, to be held in Somerset on Saturday, June 3.

On Saturday, May 27, audiences can watch the play performed again at Saltburn Community Theatre.

Tickets are £7 or £5 for concessions, with funds raised going towards the cost of travelling to the finals.

To book, visit the venue or saltburnarts.co.uk.