Corrie classic given new lease of life

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The written word of Cardenden miner Joe Corrie is at the heart of a new production by the National Theatre of Scotland currently running in Kirkcaldy.

Director Graham McLaren has taken on ‘In Time o’ Strife’ - a play written by Corrie in 1926 during the General Strike as a means of raising money for the soup kitchens.

The play is seldom performed professionally and the last production was the 7:84’s version at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow in 1982.

However Graham, who was behind the National Theatre of Scotland’s productions ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘Men Should Weep’, has brought Corrie’s work back to life with a powerful production running at Pathhead Halls until Saturday.

The story is simple, it follows a period in the lives of a Fife mining family when they are staring hunger and defeat in the face during the 1926 General Strike.

We share in the life of Jock Smith, his family and neighbours as the strike drags on.

Corrie’s original script is woven with fragments of the miner’s other poems and songs.

The intense and powerful music, composed by Michael John McCarthy to embrace Corrie’s lyrics, and performed live by a four piece band truly drives this production.

It’s loud, powerful and emotional. The energy and passion that’s channelled into the production, particularly through the dance sequences, is incredible.

Fine performances from the cast help the audience to associate with them and feel their pain and desperation.

Such hard times are difficult to imagine, but through this piece of theatre it’s a little easier to see.

McLaren has spoken of the disgrace that Corrie was not encouraged with his writing, instead shunned by the Scottish theatre elite of the time.

One thing that must be said of his work is that it’s set at an extremely important time in Scottish history and with this latest production it ensures that that period is not forgotten, nor Corrie’s work.

If you have the chance, go see it for yourselves.

‘In Time O’ Strife’ is at Patthead Halls, Kirkcaldy, until October 12.