ONE of the biggest celebrations of working class life is the subject of a new feature film .

The Big Meeting, inspired by Durham Miners' Gala, will be shown for the first time in the city next month, ahead of its cinema release.

The 94-minute film by director Daniel Draper captures the sights and sounds of Gala day, from the brass bands to the silk banners, and includes contributions from supporters including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and veteran MP Dennis Skinner.

It follows some of the people who make the Gala happen, who will also be part of a panel discussion at an event to premiere the film, which takes place at Redhills, Durham Miners Hall.

The Northern Echo:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is one of the contributors to the documentary

Mr Draper, who also directed Dennis Skinner biopic Nature of the Beast, said: "I don’t think words alone can do justice to the Durham Miners’ Gala. It is as though this great celebration of working-class life takes place in the past, present and future simultaneously.

“This film is an exploration of something wonderful and beyond words.

“Redhills is the perfect setting for the premiere and I will be proud to share The Big Meeting for the first time at the home of the Durham miners.”

Hosted by the Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) since 1871, it takes place every second Saturday in July and in recent years has attracted crowds of more than 200,000.

This year's Durham Miners' Gala, which will be the 135th, takes place on Saturday, July 13.

The film premier takes place at Redhills on Saturday, June 22, and will feature a panel discussion with Mr Draper.

All the proceeds from the event will go to the Marras – Friends of Durham Miners' Gala, which was established to fund the event following the closure of the collieries.

Dave Anderson, chair of the Marras, said: “We are delighted that Daniel and his team have captured the sights and sounds of this unique event.

The Northern Echo:

A screen shot of the documentary, which will be shown at Redhills on June 22

"We hope this film will expose more people to what is the world’s greatest celebration of community, solidarity and working-class culture.

"We look forward to seeing The Big Meeting on the big screen. We’ll be joined at the premiere by some good friends and special guests and we are sure it’ll be a very special occasion at Redhills.”

The DMA submitted its funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund on Saturday, which it wants for a major restoration of the Grade II listed miners' hall, which opened in 1915 to replace another in North Road.

The organisation is trying to raise £5m for the project, which it hopes will bring the building back into use by communities in County Durham and will turn it into a hub of North-East culture.

They estimate is will cost about £3m to restore the building, which will include fixing the roof and repairing parts of the interior, and a further £2m to build the modern facilities to make it usable for future projects and enable it to offer learning opportunities for schools, students and visitors.

Tickets for the premier of The Big Meeting are on sale to the public from today and can be bought by visiting