A play by Ade Morris
Scargill's dreams, and reality, Britain 1984-2012
Dust is a story of mines and miners. A story of dreams and reality in a Britain partly shaped by the cataclysmic events of the 1984/5 miners’ strike - And a story of two Arthurs.
The first, Arthur Cook, known by his initials, A. J. Cook the legendary leader of the miners’ union at the time of the 1926 General strike. Cook was a charismatic speaker who had a magnetic power of oratory. His simple but powerful “not a minute on the day, not a penny off the pay” slogan was the rallying call under which the only General Strike was called.
The nine day strike was a failure and the miners were defeated. Cook, humiliated, died aged just 47 in 1931.
The second, Arthur Scargill, was born a little more than six years after Cook’s death. This Arthur, born in Worsborough near Barnsley in South Yorkshire, was raised in a mining community and as a teenager, learned about Cook’s catastrophic defeat.
He became fascinated by Cook and as he prepared for power in the miners’ union it is not difficult to imagine how he was also preparing to avenge the defeat of the miners and Cook in 1926.
Indeed, so reverential was he to Cook’s memory, that in 1978 he said “if my name is mentioned in the same sentence of that of the great A. J. Cook, then that is the greatest compliment which could be paid to me.”
Dust was written to recognise the 30th anniversary of Arthur Scargill's election as President of the National Union of Miners. Today, he remains the honorary President of a union which once boasted a million members.
Even at the start of the 1984/5 strike there were some 180,000 miners. Today, much as Scargill warned, there are just 6,000. Britain, with hundreds of years of coal reserves lying under its own land, imports coal.
Dust is just a story. It is a fictional account of an imagined confrontation with a real person, Arthur Scargill. Arthur Cook, who features in Dust, is also real.
All other characters are fictional and in no way do they represent real people or real events.
Selection of Reviews...
"Critic's Choice" - The Times
"Must see" - The Stage
"Hot show" - The Scotsman
"This is a great historical play that manages to link the larger politics with the lives of the people affected."
British Theatre Guide
"It is balanced, nuanced, passionate, understanding, humane - and really quite brilliant" - Fest
"The performances here are brilliantly executed... Strong performances, great blocking and an excellently executed script" - Broadway Baby