Spalding theatre group given a North Eastern helping hand for next play
St Nicolas Players will look the part when the cast of its next production wear the colours of a mining band with 134 years of history.
The Spalding-based theatre group received help from nearly 200 miles away for its production of "Brassed Off", to be performed at South Holland Centre, Spalding, from October 17 to 20.
A brass band formed for the play will be dressed in the uniform previously worn by Murton Colliery Band, of County Durham, who folded last week due to a lack of musicians.
The play has added poignancy as it is being staged in memory of former theatre group member Philip Bosworth who died in March 2018, having directed "Brassed Off" when it was last performed by St Nicolas Players in 2006.
Martin Tyrrell, director of the play's restaging, said: "Brassed Off is one of my favourite films and when Philip sadly died earlier this year, I asked St Nicolas Players 'Why don't we do Brassed Off as a tribute to Philip?'
"When we did it in 2006, we used the Salvation Army Brass Band but there weren't any bands around who were able to do it this time.
"So the only way we could do it was to get our own brass band together, collecting people who wanted to be involved."
Musicians from Spalding and Kirton Brass Bands came forward to take part in the play.
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But Martin said: "That brought its own problems because we had a brass band without a uniform.
"So I looked everywhere until I went on an online brass band forum, called The Mouthpiece.com, and came across Murton Colliery Band.
"A horn player had posted a comment to say how sad it was that the band was going to fold because of a lack of players.
"I approached the band's secretary to ask what was going to happen to the uniforms and she said we could have them free of charge."
Murton Colliery Band, originally called Murton Gospel Temperance Blue Ribbon Army Band, was found in 1884 and adopted its shorter name in 1895.
It was supported financially by the wages of miners working at Murton Colliery until its closure in 1991 after which the band relied on sponsorship and donations.
But a declining number of players led to a decision by the band's committee and trustees to dissolve it, with the world-famous Durham Miners' Gala having been its last engagement on July 14.
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Martin said: "The band's secretary told me that all she wanted was for the uniforms to go to a good home and she couldn't think of a better place for them to go.
"So a few days ago, 21 jackets and ties turned up at our rehearsal space and we're just gobsmacked by the generosity of these people from the North East."
The film 'Brassed Off', made in 1996 and starring Ewan McGregor, Tara Fitzgerald, Pete Postlethwaite and Stephen Tompkinson, told the story of Grimley Colliery Band whose members became British champions, despite suffering the same fate as Murton.
Martin said: "They wouldn't take a penny but we insisted that if any, or all of the Murton Colliery Band members can make their way to Spalding, tickets for 'Brassed Off' will be waiting for them."