Easington Colliery Band to perform at swansong Billy Elliot show
The brass band which has become the voice of a lost industry will join the final performance of a hit West End show.
Easington Colliery Band will help perform the soundtrack for the last ever Billy Elliot the musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London.
Saturday night sees the end of the musical’s 12-year run in the West End, a show which currently stars Sunderland schoolgirl Hollie Creighton, from Barnes, in the role of Debbie.
The film which spawned the musical was shot in and around Easington Colliery in 1999, an area which also inspired the tale of a young boy who dances his way to a new future amidst the backdrop of the Miners’ Strike.
A band spokesman said: “Working Title is the production company responsible for both the film and the musical and they are busy re-writing the final section of the show to feature the band in the performance.
“We are expecting to play two of the songs, culminating in the band performing the hymn, Abide With Me, on their own as Billy is writing a letter to his late mother, in what is expected to be a highly emotional moment for the cast and audience.”
He added: “It’s an honour and a privilege to be asked to be part of such a globally-recognised musical and we are all ecstatic to have been given the opportunity to be part of what will be a very emotional final performance.”
The band, which was formed by miners in 1915 and was supported by them until the colliery closure in 1993, will also perform outside the Sunderland Empire on Thursday evening to mark the touring version of the show’s arrival in the city.
Making its North East debut, the tour is set to be one of the biggest of the year at the Empire.
The band is still based in Easington in the old colliery pay office opposite the Memorial Gardens, which is on the site of the old pit. The office is the last remaining evidence of the colliery.
Proceeds from the final West End show on Saturday will be donated to the East Durham Trust who support former mining communities.