The ‘Piston, Pen and Press’ team were delighted to work with the playwright, Martin Travers, who has written a new play in Scots, ‘A Daurk Maiter’, centred around the Udston Mining Disaster in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, in 1887. In 2019-20, Martin worked with director Guy Hollands and a team of actors from the BA Acting course at New College, Lanarkshire, to put together a reading of the script. Findlay Napier, who works with us on the ‘Factory Muses’ songs, assisted with musical settings.
Mining accidents were not uncommon in the long nineteenth century. Reports of serious accidents and disasters were regularly reported in the newspapers, and songs and poems were written to commemorate the victims and their families. You can learn more about ‘disaster verse’, and the miner poets who wrote them when you visit our touring exhitibion (also currently on hold). To give you a taster, here is one of our banners:
A reading of parts of the play took place in September 2019 at North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre. A full rehearsed reading was originally scheduled for 2 April 2020, hosted by the Citizens Theatre, but due to the government lockdown as a result of COVID-19, regretfully this had to be postponed. We will keep you posted on a new date — watch this space! You can watch one scene, recorded by the actors during lockdown, on our Youtube channel (released Monday 14 September), and read the transcript here.
Our Youtube ‘Scottish Mining Poems’ playlist features five of the actors reading poems by nineteenth-century miners including Arthur Wilson, Sarah Moore, and David Wingate, whose work is being rediscovered as a result of our research. You can check these poems out here: