Skip to main content Skip to footer site map



The Pitmen Painters recently concluded an acclaimed run at London's Royal National Theatre. Inspired by a book by William Feaver, and hailed by London critics as "a glorious instant classic" (Evening Standard), "a wonderful piece of theatre" (Financial Times) "a beautiful work of art that everybody should see" (The Times of London), and "a superb piece of work; warm, funny, sad, and thought-provoking" (The Daily Telegraph), the play tells the story of the Ashington Group - miners from Northumberland who became celebrated painters. THE PITMEN PAINTERS was named Best Play at the 2008 Evening Standard Awards.Max Roberts directs the British cast, which will include Christopher Connel, Michael Hodgson, Ian Kelly, Brian Lonsdale, Lisa McGrillis, Deka Walmsley, David Whitaker and Phillippa Wilson. The play begins previews Sept. 14 and opens Sept. 30 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. is excited to present a new series where each day we'll introduce a new member of the cast.

Second up- Michael Hodgson

What is your hometown? How long did you live there?

Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire. A town known for its production of steel which was discovered

 inthe surrounding Eston Hills in the mid 19th century and became affectionately known as 'Little California.' It was a big part of the Industrial Revolution. It was world famous for its bridge building at Dorman Long Engineering, which included the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle. I lived there for 23 years then left for London petrified.

Where did you go to school and/or study and what did you study?

My training for the stage was at LAMDA in London for three years. I learnt two things....
a. I couldn't act
b. It didn't matter....! Only kidding.

Do you have any relatives in show business?

My great grandfather used to tap dance and act in local Music Hall semi-professionally. He was in the Great War. My partner is an actress and my step-daughter Billie has ambitions to be a folk singer.

Do you have any interesting hobbies, charity work interest, etc.?

Running for Leukemia Research from time to time and camping whenever I can with my son, Fred.

Were you aware of the Ashington Group's story before your involvement with The Pitmen Painters?

I had read of the group and their wonderful endeavor, which is what the play is about in The Guardian newspaper and also news that Woodhorn Museum in Ashington was about to open showing their work and recording their way of life.

You began your journey with the show back in 2007, how has your performance evolved?

I would hope it has evolved but if anything I have always tried to trim it and say to myself what can I lose from the last performance that is superfluous and needless and try to distill and be economical. Let the words be the absolute focus of the character, any character for that matter.

What are you most looking forward to about bringing the show to New York/Broadway?

Being in one of the most culturally diverse and exciting cities in the world and hopefully being part of that in some way for a time. I'm very eager to communicate to New York audiences the extraordinary story of the miners and their unique endeavor and the politics of the play which is the heart of it. I always wanted to live and work in New York for a while but felt it was a long shot but now it's gonna happen and I am absolutely thrilled. I was brought up on 'Kojak' and the like, and hundreds of American movies, we all were, and New York on the television, when we were kids, looked to be the most exciting place in the world.

What do you hope Broadway audiences take away from this production?

That each and every one of us has something to say, that we all have something creative within us and the power of a collective can be an extraordinary thing.

What quintessential New York experience are you most looking forward to?

Primarily meeting New Yorkers, walking the streets and looking at the buildings.

Do you have any painting talent of your own?

I am utterly pathetic. I have tried and even bought equipment but a monkey could do better. Thoroughly depressing and what's more, I despise any actor that can!

Top three songs that are most played on your iTunes/iPod right now (or name the three songs you always find yourself listening to).

"Paranoid Android" - Radiohead
Beethoven's 5th Symphony
"Quiet Life" - Japan

Name the three TV Shows that are the highest priority on your DVR (or name three television shows on "your must" watch list)?

I like 'Rev' which is very funny comedy about a south London vicar. I like 'Dragon's Den' which is about budding inventors pitching their ideas to a panel of smug millionaire entrepreneurs. And I watch "Newsnight" to see the presenter Jeremy Paxman make monkeys and liars out of our politicians every night.

What are the next three movies in your Netflix/Blockbuster queue (or name the last three movies you watched at home)?

The White Ribbon. The Day Of The Jackal, The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three - the original!

What website is your current online addiction?


What's the last book you purchased for yourself to read?

Germinal by Emile Zola.

Name the place you hope to visit when you go on your next vacation.

We just got back from Sicily where I was one of the best men at my mate's wedding. Next year, I would like to go back there or, if not, somewhere in Italy. It's wonderful.

Favorite show on Broadway right now, or theatrical event?

Once saw Peter Stein's production of The Hairy Ape at the National in London. It was visually amazing and The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol by Complicite.

What is the one role (musical theatre, straight play, television, film, opera, ballet) you MUST play before you die?

Hope to be playing Richard the Third one day soon and Willy Loman later.

Name one thing you want to accomplish in the next six months.

To lose a stone in weight but I'd have to cut me leg off to do that!

Related Articles

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes & More

More Hot Stories For You