Joe Corrie play comes home for premiere

Strike Soup Kitchen, 1926
Strike Soup Kitchen, 1926

The National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) brought its incredible production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ to Kirkcaldy and now the team are coming back.

But this time round they are bringing a production which has its roots set deeply in Fife.

Cardenden miner, Joe Corrie wrote the play ‘In Time o’ Strife’ while on strike in 1926 to raise funds for the soup kitchens feeding his fellow miners and their starving families.

Now, some 87 years later, Graham McLaren from the NTS has adapted, designed and directed the rarely performed classic play.

The production is being put on at Pathhead Halls in Kirkcaldy in October by the NTS in association with ON at Fife.

McLaren has created a powerful reimagining of the play, which exposes the lives of a Fife mining family staring hunger and defeat in the face during the General Strike of 1926.

In addition to Corrie’s original script, the show will interweave fragments of his other plays, poems and songs and there’s a live four piece band.

When the play was first performed by Corrie’s hastily assembled amateur group, the Fife Miner Players, it was an outstanding success, touring to theatres across Scotland and England, playing to audiences between 800 and 1000 per night and going on to win international acclaim.

Corrie and this play were shunned by the Scottish theatre elite of the day and the play has seldom been performed professionally.

Frank Chinn, service manager, said: “We’re delighted to be working as co-producer with the National Theatre of Scotland to bring ‘In Time o’ Strife’ to Fife.

“It’s having its world premiere in Fife and it’s the same director and team behind the sell-out success of ‘A Christmas Carol’ that’s developing it for the Fife audience.

“For us it’s important to ensure we can bring artistic, quality productions to Fife and to demonstrate that Fife is capable of hosting major cultural events of both national and international interest.

“They needed a space like Pathhead Halls to be able to complement the style of performance for it, but it’s a perfect location for us because it allows us to bring a piece of theatre right into the heart of the community and extend the reach of our audiences.”