Miners' strike play more relevant than ever

Play an excellent rendition of the strike through the stories of the Women Against Pit Closures

Reading time: 4 min

My parents were still in nappies when the 1984 Miners’ Strike that the play ‘We’re Not Going Back’ is based upon took place. As a 15-year-old, I was not aware of the history of the strike.

I enjoyed going to see ‘We’re Not Going Back’ at Goole Junction Theatre. The play is an excellent and educational rendition of the strike, and the untold stories from the wives and families of the strikers themselves.

The play shows the perspective of the women who were involved with the miners. It reveals the hardships and everyday battles they faced, including financial issues, violence and helping fight for their husbands and families’ rights as workers.

This is crucial as it emphasises that when people go on strike it doesn’t just affect them, but their families and communities too.

The women who helped during such difficult times needed to speak up and be credited for all the work they really did, which is why the play is brilliant at expressing the role that the women played and showing how important their involvement was.

For example, not only did the women speak up and start the Women Against Pit Closures campaign, which involved public speaking, they started foodbanks because nearly everybody in their community was struggling.

The women had to work longer hours and even multiple jobs so they could be more secure and try and make up for their loss of income.

The play also shows the serious effect on the mental health of both the men and women, as people felt lost due to the lack of routine they were used to.

It was a time of civil conflict and misery, with the government and other institutions not providing any support to the strikers and targeting them using the police. Also, everyone was very poor with the lack of income coming in.

However, with this brought closeness to the working-class people and raised the popularity of feminism and female empowerment, as the women were now influenced to work and take charge.

This was why the play was written, to show all sides of this story: the struggle for justice and what things the strikes brought afterwards for everyone, which were not all negative.

Personally, I believe these stories should be continued to be shared to spread the message to all that they deserve the right to fight to be in an equal and better workplace and society.

These types of events should also be used to educate people on how hard it is on workers and their families when they feel the need to strike and help them understand that it is not an easy decision to make.

Even though I was not born, when the strikes took place, I can still empathise with it as there are many strikes going on in the UK today that I and people I know have been impacted by.

As Victoria Brazier, who played Olive, said at the end of the performance, ‘We’re Not Going Back’ is even more relevant today than when it was first performed ten years ago.

More and more people feel the need to go on strike because of the cost-of-living crisis, food bank usage has increased and steel workers in Scunthorpe and Port Talbot are fighting against the devastation of their industries.  

By Ava Vickerman