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American Premiere of THE PITMEN PAINTERS Starring Original UK Cast Coming to MTC

Lynne Meadow (Artistic Director) and Barry Grove (Executive Producer) announced that Manhattan Theatre Club, by special arrangement with Bob Boyett, will produce the Live Theatre, Newcastle /National Theatre of Great Britain's co-production of THE PITMEN PAINTERS by Tony Award winner Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) with direction by Max Roberts starring the original English company.

THE PITMEN PAINTERS will open September 2010 at MTC's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street).

The cast, who have been with the production since it premiered at Live Theatre in 2007, will include: Christopher Connel, Michael Hodgson, Ian Kelly, Brian Lonsdale, Lisa McGrillis, Deka Walmsley, David Whitaker and Phillippa Wilson.

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.

THE PITMEN PAINTERS is a humorous, deeply moving and timely look at art, class, and politics. In 1934, a group of Ashington miners hired a professor to teach an art appreciation evening class. Rapidly abandoning theory in favor of practice, the pitmen began to paint. Within a few years the most avant-garde artists became their friends and their work was acquired by prestigious collections; but every day they worked, as before, down the mine.

THE PITMEN PAINTERS features scenic and costume design by Gary McCann, lighting design by Douglas Kuhrt, and sound design by Martin Hodgson.

The cast of THE PITMEN PAINTERS is appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association. The producers gratefully acknowledge Actors' Equity Association for its assistance of this production.

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THE PITMEN PAINTERS will mark the first production of Manhattan Theatre Club's 2010-2011 season.

Manhattan Theatre Club's current season (2009-2010) at the Samuel J. Friedman includes the New York premiere of Donald Margulies' TIME STANDS STILL currently in rehearsals and the Broadway premiere of Margulies' COLLECTED STORIES. The Off-Broadway season includes Bill Cain's EQUIVOCATION and Polly Stenham's THAT FACE. MTC recently concluded an extended engagement of the critically lauded production of George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber's THE ROYAL FAMILY and Lynn Redgrave's NIGHTINGALE.

Additional listings information for the production including ticketing information will be announced in the coming months.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Lynne Meadow and Executive Producer Barry Grove, MTC has become one of the country's most prominent and prestigious theatre companies. MTC productions have earned a total of 16 Tony Awards and six Pulitzer Prizes, an accomplishment unparalleled by any New York theatrical institution. MTC has their Broadway home at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street) and an Off-Broadway theatre at New York City Center - Stage I (131 West 55th Street). Renowned MTC productions include Ruined; The American Plan; Top Girls; Come Back, Little Sheba; Blackbird; Translations; Shining City; Rabbit Hole; Doubt; Proof; The Tale of the Allergist's Wife; Love! Valour! Compassion!; A Small Family Business; Sylvia; Putting It Together; Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune; Crimes of the Heart; and Ain't Misbehavin'.

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Lee Hall (Playwright) was born in 1966 in Newcastle upon Tyne and was educated at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. Screenwriting credits include: Billy Elliot (Working Title/ Tiger Aspect) which received BIFA Award for Best Screenplay; two BAFTA nominations for Best Newcomer and Best Screenplay; and an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Television credits include: Wind in the Willows (BBC), Spoonface Steinberg (BBC2), The Student Prince (BBC1). His work in theatre includes: Billy Elliot The Musical (Victoria Palace Theatre, Broadway and Sydney), with music by Elton John, which received the 2005 Evening Standard Award for Best Musical and nine Olivier Award nominations, winning five including Best New Musical. Other theatre includes Spoonface Steinberg at the Ambassadors, Cooking With Elvis which had its premiere at Live Theatre then toured to Edinburgh, transferred to the West End, toured nationally and was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Comedy. His adaptations for the stage include: The Barber of Seville (Bristol Old Vic), The Good Hope (National), Pinocchio (Lyric Hammersmith), Mother Courage (Shared Experience), Servant to Two Masters (RSC/ Young Vic), Mr Puntila and his Man Matti (Almeida/Right Size) and Leonce and Lena (Gate Theatre). Radio includes: Matti's Story/Child of the Rain, Gristle, Spoonface Steinberg, The Sorrows of Sandra Saint, The Love Letters of Ragie Patel, Blood Sugar, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (six part adaptation), and I Love You, Jimmy Spud (winner of a Sony Award: Best Writing on Radio). Lee Hall is currently working on a play for the National Theatre; a new musical with Elton John; The Wall - the Musical with Roger Waters; and a film about the director Douglas Sirk for Paramount.

Max Roberts (Director) is Artistic Director and founding member of Live Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne. The productions he has directed for the company include The Long Line, Yesterday's Children, Long Shadows, The Filleting Machine and Seafarers by Tom Hadaway; A Nightingale Sang, Operation Elvis and Bandits by CP Taylor; Close the Coalhouse Door, Going Home, Shooting the Legend, Tales from the Backyard, and Charlie's Trousers by Alan Plater; In Blackberry Time by Alan Plater and Michael Chaplin from the stories of Sid Chaplin; Come Snow Come Blow by Leonard Barras; Northern Glory and Kidder's Luck by Phil Woods; Your Home In The West by Rod Wooden; The Ghost of T Dan Smith and The Great Fire of Newcastle by Peter Flannery; He Swoops To Bonk Her by Shaun Prendergast; The Women Who Painted Ships and Attachments by Julia Darling; Laughter When We're Dead and Keepers of the Flame (in a co-production with the RSC) by Sean O'Brien; Buffalo Girls and Eggs and Basket Cases by Karin Young; Bones and Noir by Peter Straughan; Lush Life by Paul Sirett; Cooking with Elvis (Olivier Award nominee for Best Comedy), NE1 and Wittgenstein on Tyne by Lee Hall. Earlier this year, Max Roberts directed the German-language premiere of The Pitmen Painters in Vienna at The Volkstheater, and most recently a verbatim drama about the plight of Newcastle United entitled You Couldn't Make It Up by Michael Chaplin and Tom Chaplin.

Christopher Connel (Oliver Kilbourn) is native to Newcastle upon Tyne. His previous appearances at Live Theatre include: You Really Couldn't Make It Up (playing Alan Shearer); Stuart in the premiere of Cooking with Elvis and Colin in Toast. Other theatre includes: Shooting The Legend at Theatre Royal, Newcastle; Cooking With Elvis, Bouncers, Studs, Up on Roof, and A Kick in the Baubles for Hull Truck; Black on White Shorts for Paines Plough/Live Theatre; And A Nightingale Sang for Cheltenham Everyman; The Steal and Men Women Inspectors and Dogs for Theatre Royal York/Cloud Nine; Peer Gynt for Three Over Eden; The Fillacavity Hotel for Kinetic; Cuddys Miles for Customs House, South Shields; and extensive work with Bruvvers. TV & film include: the feature films Goal and Purely Belter, Emmerdale, The Round Tower, Badger, The Bill, Byker Grove, Quayside, King Leek, Heartbeat, Crocodile Shoes, series 1 and 2, How We Used to Live, Finney, The Block, Take Me, the sitcom Breeze Block, Steel River Blues and Lawless. Radio includes: The Pitmen Painters, The Song Thief, Poor Clare and Skellig.

Michael Hodgson (Harry Wilson) trained at LAMDA. His work in theatre includes A Christmas Carol and Noir for Northern Stage, The Pitmen Painters at Live Theatre, Accidental Death of an Anarchist at Bolton Octagon; Bones at Hampstead Theatre; My Last Barmaid monologue for Theatre Royal, Newcastle/Live Theatre; The Miser at Salisbury Playhouse; Studs and Like a Virgin for Hull Truck, Fetish monologue, Laughter When We're Dead, and Bones at Live Theatre; King Lear at the Young Vic/ Tokyo Globe, Japan; The Three Musketeers on UK tour; The Tower at the Almeida; The Wind in the Willows and The Devil's Disciple at the National Theatre; The Bear at the King's Head; Jane Eyre and Travels With My Aunt in the West End; Death of a Salesman, The Last Yankee and Tess of the D'Urbervilles at West Yorkshire Playhouse; The Guise for Arts Threshold (Edinburgh Fringe First Winner and tour to Hong Kong, Romania and New York), and A Midsummer Night's Dream and Habeas Corpus at Colchester Mercury. TV includes: Skins, The Royal, The Visit, Instinct, Angel Cake, Doctors, Spit Game, Ghost Squad, 55 Degrees North (as a series regular), Babywar, Lawless, Spooks, 2000 Acres Of Sky (as a series regular), Holby City, Dalziel & Pascoe, Without Motive, Waiters, The Tide of Life, Milking the Chocolate Man and Big Time Charlie Tomato. Film includes: The Other Possibility, The One and Only, Gypsy Women, Purely Belter, The Last Minute, The Low Down, Wonderland and First Knight. Radio includes: The Pitmen Painters, The War of the Worlds, The Recall Man, Medium Risk, Up Top, Cold Calling, The Big Marrow, Laughter When We're Dead and Barbarians.

Ian Kelly (Robert Lyon). Actor and writer Ian Kelly is the author of this year's Sunday Times Biography of the Year, Casanova and of Beau Brummell (shortlisted for the Marsh Biography Prize and adapted as a BBC TV film) and Cooking for Kings, the biography of Napoleon's chef, Careme, which became a New York stage play and Channel 4 documentary. He studied at Cambridge University and UCLA's Film School. Other stage work includes The Pitmen Painters (performance of the Year, NE Culture Awards) at Live Theatre Newcastle and the National Theatre; in the West End, A Busy Day; Arcadia at Manchester Library Theatre; Henry in Henry V for English Shakespeare Company; Relative Values, Pygmalion (on tour); The Changeling and Hippolytus in Los Angeles. He has appeared regularly in his own one-man shows Off-Broadway, and played the title role in the New York premiere of Ron Hutchinson's Beau Brummell. TV includes Sensitive Skin, Silent Witness, In a Land of Plenty, Dennis Potter's Cold Lazarus, Drop the Dead Donkey, Time Trumpet, The Moth, Just William, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, Underworld and Dream Team. His work as a writer-presenter of historical documentaries has included Regency Banquet and the Tasting the Past series for Richard & Judy. Film includes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, as Hermione's father, and Creation/Darwin. Also Merchant Ivory's Howards End, Richard Attenborough's In Love & War, and the Russian films Admiral Kolchak and War for which he was nominated Best Actor at the Montreal Film Festival.

Brian Lonsdale (Young Lad & Ben Nicholson) graduated from RADA in 2004. His work in theatre includes: The Pitmen Painters at Live Theatre and the NT; The Boy on the Swing at Live; Bedroom Farce at West Yorkshire Playhouse; Jason and the Argonauts and George and the Dragon both for Schtanhause, national tour; and The Dong with the Luminous Nose for London Bubble. TV includes: Hustle and Doctors. Film includes: The Other Possibility, Valiant and Goal. Radio includes Nowt to Look At and The Pitmen Painters.

Lisa McGrillis (Susan Parks). Lisa McGrillis' work in theatre includes The Pitman Painters at Live Theatre and the NT. Sock in the Wash and Nicole Most Famous at Live Theatre; Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Tattercoats and Impropantso for Northern Stage; Boston Marriage for Arc Stockton; Tonic for Open Clasp; Strings and In Wonderland at the Edinburgh Festival. She also performs with The Suggestibles improvised comedy show. TV & film includes: Spit Games, Rocketman, The Other Possibility and Tangerine. Radio: The Pitmen Painters and The Gallery.

Deka Walmsley (George Brown) trained at Rose Bruford. His work in theatre includes Geoff Dead: Disco for Sale at Live Theatre Newcastle, and The Pitmen Painters at Live Theatre and the National; Playing with Fire at the National; Cyrano de Bergerac at Bristol Old Vic; Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads for Pilot Theatre on national tour; Enemies at the Almeida; Home: Shetland for National Theatre of Scotland; Mulgrave, News from the 7th Floor and Mapping The Edge for Wilson & Wilson; Musik and Professor Bernhardi for Oxford Stage Company; Your Home in the West and Sacred Heart at the Royal Exchange; Gaffer! at Southwark Playhouse; Keepers of the Flame for the RSC and Live Theatre; Noir for Northern Stage; Bones (also Hampstead), Tales from the Backyard, Laughter When We're Dead, The Name of That Song and Some Voices at Live Theatre; Cooking with Elvis at the Whitehall; Blood Brothers for Bill Kenwright; Andorra, Stars in the Morning Sky and Animal Farm for Northern Stage. TV includes George Gently, Dalziel and Pascoe, 55 Degrees North, Dirty War, Waking the Dead, Grease Monkeys, Doctors, Holby City, Breeze Block, Waiters, Rebus, Tickets to Ride, The Bill, Nature Boy, Our Friends in the North and The Original Mr Sleaze.

David Whitaker (Jimmy Floyd) is one of the founder members of Live Theatre, Newcastle, where his work includes The Pitmen Painters (also at the National), Laughter When We're Dead, A Nightingale Sang, Bandits, Close the Coalhouse Door, Bring Me Sunshine, The Grass House, Some Enchanted Evening, Hangin About, I Knew Him Horatio and Northern Glory. Other work in theatre includes: Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Our Friends in the North, All's Well That Ends Well, Poppy, Today, Red Noses, The Castle, Crime in Hot Countries, Downchild and The Desert Air for the RSC; Dick Whittington, Pickets and Pigs, Cuddy's Miles, Sleeping Beauty, The Pigeon Man, Dan Dare and Dirty Dusting at Customs House South Shields; Tell Me (also Donmar Warehouse), Animal Farm (also toured Jerusalem, Turkey, Holland), Twelfth Night, Friends and Lovers and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for Northern Stage; Shooting the Legend and The Beautiful Game at Theatre Royal Newcastle; Rents at the Traverse; and A Foot on the Earth at Bristol Old Vic. TV & film include South Bank Show - Auden, Inside Out, Emmerdale, Olauda Equino, Lawless, Byker Grove, Steel River Blues, Wire in the Blood, School for Seduction, The Bill, Spender, Badger, Tilly Trotter, Our Friends in the North, The Glass Virgin, Sam Saturday, Days of Hope, Wallpaper Warrior, Operation Elvis, Squire, Ghost Train, Come In If You Can Get In, The Happy Hunting Ground and Homeground. Radio includes The Pitmen Painters, I Love You, Jimmy Spud, The Legend of Los Trombastardos, The Pamela Miles Show and The Boiler Hunters.

Phillippa Wilson (Helen Sutherland) trained with North Tyneside Youth Theatres and Manchester Polytechnic School of Theatre. Her work in theatre includes The Pitmen Painters, Twelve Tales of Tyneside, Here I Come, The Beautiful Game, Oh What a Lovely War, Bandits, Some Like It Cold, For The Crack and 1990 at Live Theatre; Writing Wrongs and Waiting for Gateaux for Customs House, South Shields; Stars In The Morning Sky, The Long Line, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Snow Queen and Merlin the Magnificent for Northern Stage; The Importance Of Being Earnest, A Nightingale Sang and The Real Inspector Hound for Queen's Hall, Hexham; Billy Liar and Hay Fever for Astrakhan; The Grand Finale, Hatched and Dispatched and Back by Christmas for Living Memory. TV includes: Clay, Empathy, Where the Heart is, Badger, The Royal, 55 Degrees North, Holby City, Doctors, Byker Grove, Rebus, Casualty, Heartbeat, The Student Prince, Firm Friends, Spender, Eastenders,The Bill, Emmerdale and The Wanderer. Film includes: Dead Terry and Sub Zero. Radio includes The Pitmen Painters, The Ice Factory, The Legend of Los Tromabastardos, My Uncle Freddy, Change at Oglethorpe and Bookends.

LIVE THEATRE was founded in 1978 and situated on Newcastle upon Tyne's vibrant quayside, Live Theatre is recognised as one of the UK's leading new writing theatres, gaining a fantastic reputation for the way it finds, nurtures and develops talent and transforms ideas into performance of the highest quality for stage, radio, film and television. Live Theatre is situated in a beautifully restored and refurbished complex of historic buildings with state-of-the-art facilities in a unique setting, including a cabaret style theatre, a Studio Theatre, renovated rehearsal rooms and a series of dedicated writer's rooms.

THE National Theatre OF GREAT BRITAIN was founded in 1963 and established on the South Bank in 1976. In its three theatres, it presents an eclectic mix of new plays and classics, with seven or eight productions in repertory at any one time. Through an extensive programme of Platform performances, backstage tours, foyer music, exhibitions, and free outdoor entertainment it recognises that the theatre doesn't begin and end with the rise and fall of the curtain. The National endeavours to maintain and re-energise the great traditions of the British stage and to expand the horizons of audiences and artists alike. It aspires to reflect in its repertoire the diversity of the nation's culture. It takes a particular responsibility for the creation of new work - offering at its Studio a space for research and development for the NT's stages and the theatre as a whole. Through its Discover programme, it engages tomorrow's audiences. As the National Theatre, it aims to foster the health of the wider British theatre through policies of collaboration and touring.

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