South Shields play retells Chilean miners’ rescue

Diane Gray, Fiona Tobin, Project Officer at Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust, and Ben Hudson at St Hilda's Pit Head.
Diane Gray, Fiona Tobin, Project Officer at Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust, and Ben Hudson at St Hilda's Pit Head.

The true story of 33 Chilean miners trapped underground will be told in a play at a restored South Tyneside pit head.

Trapped, which tells the story of the miners after the 2010 collapse of Chile’s San Jose Mine, will be performed at St Hilda’s Pit Head in South Shields in six performances from Thursday September 13 to Saturday September 15.

Diane Gray, Fiona Tobin, Project Officer at Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust, and Ben Hudson at St Hilda's Pit Head

Diane Gray, Fiona Tobin, Project Officer at Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust, and Ben Hudson at St Hilda's Pit Head

The revamped building has been opened to the public as a cultural and community venue..

The first tenant to move in to St Hilda’s was Community Arts Project North East (CAPNE) who are working together with Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust on the Trapped performances.

“The pit head is the perfect venue for a performance about miners,” said CAPNE’s Diane Gray.

Other events at St Hilda’s include the launch event of South Tyneside’s Heritage Open Day programme on Tuesday September 4 and the Heritage Open Days on Friday September 7 and Saturday September 8 (between 11am and 3pm).

“It’s great that the building is going to be so busy so soon after opening,” said CAPNE’s Ben Hudson.

“There are some really interesting spaces within the pit head and we’re looking forward to showing how flexible the spaces can be.”

Last week an open day celebrated the first phase of the National Lottery supported St Hilda’s restoration project, which has been delivered by TWBPT, with funding from South Tyneside Council, the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and support from the Cultural Spring.

The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £580,000 to the trust in 2016 to help restore the derelict St Hilda’s Colliery Pit Head and bring it back into use.

St Hilda’s Colliery opened in 1810 and continued until 1940. It was then used only as a ventilation shaft for Westoe Colliery in the town, which opened in 1910.

Trapped will be delivered by theatre and film company Experiential, and for details and tickets visit www.capne.org