19th Century Coal Mining in Newcastle

Exterior shot of the seating and parachute ceiling at outdoor theatre at Hedley West Farm in Gateshead.
Outdoor Theatre at Hedley West Farm, Gateshead

In June 2022, we delivered a project in partnership with Newcastle University Education Outreach team at the Robinson Library, inspired by some archival material about coal mining disasters that took place in Heaton and Wallsend in the 1800s. In both cases, many men and young children lost their lives.

Over the course of a week, Year 5 and 6 students from both Carville Primary and Chillingham Road visited the University to see some of the historical documents and artefacts, and learn more about coal mining and the local history. After this, they created a performance devised from everything they had learnt and found interesting or fascinating. The students were intrigued and moved by the fact that children as young as 5 were sent down the mines to work. These pieces of theatre were performed outdoors in a beautiful venue in Gateshead, West Hedley Farm. Luckily, the weather was on our side and both schools did really well. 
To create a piece of theatre in a week is a huge achievement and to do it outdoors in the round too! Well done to all involved. 

“The children were incredibly proud of their achievements, and it was great to see the child-led learning take place.”

– Year 5 Teacher

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