The Miners’ Hymns

September – November 2013

In partnership with Forma, Flatpack will be presenting four Midlands screenings of The Miners’ Hymns, a bewitching, hypnotic and moving portrait of the British miners made by renowned American filmmaker Bill Morrison (Decasia) and acclaimed Icelandic musician and composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. The film is made up almost entirely of archive footage and celebrates the social, cultural, and political aspects of the extinct industry. Focusing on the Durham coalfield, it depicts the hardship of pit work, increasing mechanisation, the role of trade unions in organising and fighting for workers’ rights, and their annual Miners’ Gala in Durham. Jóhann Jóhannsson’s exquisite composition for the film draws upon the brass music tradition that was so intertwined with the mining communities.

The film premiered at BRASS: Durham International Festival in July 2010, and was performed with a live score by brass musicians from the NASUWT Riverside Band. Since then it has screened at various festivals including Tribeca Film Festival, DOXA Documentary Film Festival, and Sheffield Doc Fest.

As well as The Miners’ Hymns we’ll also be screening a selection of archive shorts featuring footage from the Tamworth Gala, and miners performing ballet up north, both from 1954. The Media Archive for Central England will also be supplying us with some rarely seen archive footage of miners in the Midlands. Author David Bell (The Dirty Thirty: Heroes of the Miners’ Strike) will be joining us at Polesworth and Burntwood to give an insight into the Staffordhsire mining industry.

The four dates and venues are:

Monday 30 September, 7pm
Coalbrookdale Museum, Ironbridge Gorge Museum
Coach Rd, Coalbrookdale, Shropshire TF8 7DQ
Book Tickets

Saturday 19 October, 6pm
Polesworth Memorial Hall
20 Bridge St, Polesworth, Tamworth B78 1DT
Book Tickets

Tuesday 5 November, 7:30pm
St John’s Community Church
High St, Burntwood, Staffordshire WS7 1LR
Book Tickets

Wednesday 13 November, 6:30pm
Bilston Town Hall
Church St, Bilston, WV14 0AT
Book Tickets

All the screenings are free to attend but will be ticketed. For more information, drop Sam a line: sam[at]


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Miners' Hymns Feedback

“Everybody should see this film. As a lad of 10 I went down Hamstead Colliery, and never forgot it.”

“Very poignant to see the harsh conditions the miners worked in, yet they were such proud men.”

“Very moving and enjoyable evening.”