Wasteland 'celebrates the euphoric, defiant rave subculture that allowed a feeling of togetherness and hedonism to thrive'
- Claire Sawers
- 12 June 2019
Gary Clarke's sequel to the award-winning COAL marks the 25th anniversary of the South Yorkshire colliery being torn down
In 1994, ten years after the miners' strike which led to the widespread closure of many British collieries, workers in the village of Grimethorpe gathered to watch their old pit being demolished. Wasteland marks the 25th anniversary of the South Yorkshire colliery being torn down, at a time when the illegal rave scene was just coming up.
As working class communities – many of whom had gone without pay for a year during the huge, bitter industrial disputes of the 80s – struggled to adjust to the new landscape, derelict work spaces found a new purpose. Abandoned warehouses were taken over for big parties, where dance and music forged new communities.
Touring the UK this year and next, Clarke's Wasteland celebrates the euphoric, defiant rave subculture that allowed a feeling of togetherness and hedonism to thrive, despite the political backdrop. As well as shellsuit tops, bucket hats, sweaty naked torsos and Clarke's artful, high-energy interpretations of 'big fish, little fish, cardboard box' moves, the production also features rare archive footage of mining's last days and early raves, with a sound score by Charles Webber.
'For our generation, the future was bleak with very little prospect,' says choreographer Gary Clarke. 'The rave culture gave many of us the opportunity to escape these grim and grey realities and go into a new world of music and dance, where we could express our inner feelings, desires and frustrations. My passion for dance grew from this discovery.'
Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 14 & Sat 15 Jun.