Cast of Lichfield Garrick’s community musical head back in time to understand challenges facing characters

The cast of a community musical show have been getting closer to the subject of their production by experiencing life for coal miners.

The Lichfield Garrick will host a performance of The Hired Man from July 29 to August 6.

Set against the backdrop of the Cumbrian Lakes, the play follows the story of a young married couple and their struggle to carve a living from the land, just as the traditional rhythms of country life are swept away by the gathering storm of war in Europe.

In preparation for their performance, cast members visited Apedale Heritage Centre where the now closed drift mine offered a chance to head 20 feet underground.

The cast of The Hired Man at Apedale Heritage Centre

The cast of The Hired Man at Apedale Heritage Centre

Philippa Graty, who works at St Giles Hospice and plays a farmer’s wife in the show, said the conditions helped the group understand the challenges facing people at the time.

“Our mine experience at Apedale gave us an invaluable insight into the terrifying conditions and back breaking work the miners had to face every single day,” she said. “It was definitely food for thought for the Hired Man production – I’m glad I’m playing a farmer.”

Fellow cast member Olivia Deane added: “Being down the mine at Apedale was a really eye-opening experience and seeing how the characters in the show would have lived and worked has really helped us all connect with the text.

“Certainly, seeing reports from mine disasters were particularly haunting and humbling. I think we all now have a greater level of respect for the stories of our characters.”

Tickets for The Hired Man cost £15 and can be booked online at or by calling the box office on 01543 412121.

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.