They stood alongside their menfolk as they went on strike.

Now the voices of the women who supported striking miners in the long pit dispute will ring loud in Huddersfield this week when the curtains go up on a radical play written by ex-Chumbawumba front man, Boff Whalley.

And the hard-hitting musical, political comedy, We’re Not Going Back could not be better timed as trade unionists, communities and campaigners across the country remember the 30th anniversary since the iconic dispute of 1984 which took a stand against the government’s war on the industry.

Focusing on the women in the threatened mining towns and villages who put their all into supporting the striking pit men, it will be on show for one night only at the Lawrence Batley Theatre on September 26.

It was an ideal opportunity for former singer and lead guitarist Boff, who was involved in a miners’ support group himself in Armley and has campaigned to affect positive change around societal issues for most of his life through the band and taking action in neighbourhoods.

He said: “Unite the Union wanted someone to do something to for the anniversary and I jumped at the chance.

“I’d been involved in the miners’ campaign myself through a group and the band did benefit gigs and even a panto for miners’ children at Christmas, which was the first time I’d properly got involved in theatre.”

He took the play to Red Ladder, who he has been writing plays and working with for around six years, and turned it into a reality.

It follows the story of sisters Olive, Mary and Isabel and explores the resilience of working communities and the enduring strength of families.

It is just one of four plays which all address different socio-political struggles that he has written for the Leeds-based company, which recently lost 100 per cent of its Art Council funding due to budget cuts.

Ex-Chumbawumba singer and guitarist, Boff Whalley
 

Boff said: “Over the years I’ve got into writing historical plays which resonate with what’s going on at the moment.

“It’s really important to me to share these stories as at one point, after I’d just moved to Leeds in 1981 I felt like I’d lost connection with my working class roots.”

And the inclusion of music in all of his plays has been a crucial aspect of his work.

He said: “It was John Mcgrath who had the idea that a play that explored an aspect of popular culture had to be made entertaining to get the message across so I marry the two, even though working out which instruments to use that won’t make the actors battle to be heard is quite difficult.

“For We’re Not Going Back we’ve just used pianos because the actors have such incredible voices.”

Tickets for We’re Not Going Back cost between £10 and £12 full price and can be ordered at https://tickets.kirklees.gov.uk.

For more information on the campaign to save Red Ladder, go to: saveredladder.co.uk