Pitmen Painters Icon
Duchess Theatre
Catherine Street WC2B 5LA
Pitmen Painters
by Lee Hall
Duchess Theatre 3D mapMap ©Silvermaze Ltd 2008 Duchess theatre photoPhoto ©Tony Reading 2008
Show Details
Preview 5th Oct 11
Opens 11th Oct 11
Booking to 14th Apr 12
Show Times
Mon - Sat 7.30 pm
Matinée Thurs, Sat 2.30 pm

Local Info
Top Class restaurants nearby;

Mon Plaisir (French)
21 Monmouth Street
020 7836 7243

Loch Fyne (Fish & Seafood)
2 - 4 Catherine Street
020 7240 4999
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A classic viewing of all the Theatreland play houses by night. The authentic commentary, by Ben Shafik - a player himself - gives an authentic feel to the West End's theatres - and is backed by real music.
Next version will be more upbeat as, suggested, to celebrate Britannia's unbeatable heritage.
(Over 6000 viewings and all good reviews to date).
Let us know what you think.

A note from the author

I took these pictures to show off London theatres as they are seen -most often - by theatre goers, at night.

Thanks to Ben Shafik for his lighthearted and informative commentary and Fionn O'Lochlainn for the original music.

Watch out for the new version with current liveries and the names of the theatres as they appear.


Pitmen 5
Presented by Bill Kenwright, following celebrated seasons at the National Theatre and on Broadway, Lee Hall’s The Pitmen Painters will at last enjoy a West End season this Autumn, following a summer National tour.

Well known play written by Lee Hall, who wrote Billy Elliot, has received huge critical acclaim during seasons at the National Theatre and also did well on Broadway. It won the Evening Standard award for Best New Play. This is serious theatre and also funny.

Pitmen Painters Easel

The pitmen labour hard and play even harder as well.

Pitmen (miners) set in 1934, work hard underground and the light is very precious to them all as a daily experience. Maybe it's the reason that they give gusto to their out-of-pit activities. They race dogs, keep pidgeons, grow large vegetables and flowers, play golf, fly kites, join brass bands and do good parties. This play explores that gusto in relation to how they took on the job of creating paintings.

The play is funny and also pretty deep or poignant and raises the issues of how the poor can be as creative as the leisurely classes. The Ashington Miners - a true story - took their creative classes seriously and produced such good work that they had exhibitions of their work.

Pitmen Painters Class

Only a few years later the group began to be acknowledged as the first school of "English working-class art".

How flying the socialist flag either detracts from or adds to a painting is hard to determine. Great art only came to be assocuated with the upper classes because they had the opportunity. With French impressionists and other schools it was noticed that the poorer classes did very well and many became very famous. So the working class argument is weak but the characters and culture of the pitmen painters is fascinating for many other reasons. It's romantic for a start.


It shows the irrepressible nature of art expression - when given half a chance. When a bunch of pitmen want to learn about art they are presented with art history as an introduction. Just imaging the pitmen looking all evening at renaissance nudes and domestic scenes heavily biased towards the idyllic. It did not take long to talk the teacher into giving them a go themselves. The academic approach to art history leaves a lot to be assumed.

To quote :
"There is not room here to do credit to this superb play and its actors. I suggest that you simply go and see it."
Quentin Letts -Daily mail


Christopher Connel, Deka Walmsley, David Whitaker, Brian Lonsdale and Trevor Fox from National and Broadway runs are joined by David Leonard, Caroline Faber and Viktoria Kay.

  • Ian Kelly - Robert Lyon
  • Michael Hodgson - Harry Wilson
  • David Whitaker - Jimmy Floyd
  • Brian Lonsdale - Young Lad/Ben Nicholson
  • Trevor Fox - Oliver Kilbourn
  • Joe Caffrey - George Brown


  • Director - Max Roberts
  • Design - Gary McCann
  • Lighting Design - Douglas Kuhrt
  • Sound Design - Martin Hodgson
  • Book author -William Feaver
  • Play and Screenplay - Lee Hall
  • Producer - Bill kenwright
©Covent-Garden.co.uk 2017 Updated 6th Dec 2011