Almost a Sacred Duty.

We went to see a production of Almost a Sacred Duty tonight. A play and presentation at the New Vic theatre. The start was a brief history of what had happened in 1918 by a local historian. This was followed by a play with people from the present and three characters from one hundred years ago. It was about the Minnie pit disaster in 1918, the 18 months it took to find the 156 bodies of men and boys working in the mine who died in the disaster and about 80 miners who survived.

The inquest was held in 1919 after the last body was found. After the hearing, which took weeks, the conclusion was that dust in the mine had contributed to the explosion although nobody was found accountable.

The people acting were playing present day residents who were commemorating the disaster and also played people from 1919 who were at the inquest. The whole thing was only about 45 minutes long but it was really good.

Jim Worgan is a mining historian who gave a short presentation.

Sue Moffat wrote the play and it was directed by Anna Poole. There were three professional actors plus a community cast and the play was supported by the Minnie pit centenary commemoration group, the heritage fund, and New Vic borderlines.

The play used information from William Cooke, a local historian and writer who had given permission to use his book ‘The Minnie pit : Disaster and Controversy”.

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