The Road to Wigan Pier

👉 WELCOME | 👉 WIGAN ’04 | 👉 WIGAN 2019 | 👉 SONGS

👉 FILM | 👉 RADIO (Interview) | 👉 THANKS | 👉 PLAYBILL

Welcome (back) to Wigan Pier

Join us as we return to Wigan Pier for a one-night-only knees-up
at the Carousel Lounge, January 26, 2019

In 2004, The Road to Wigan Pier: A (Socialist) Tea-Time Travelogue & Historical Musical Revue made its theatrical debut at the Off Center (aka the 7th Street Working Men's Club).

Ever since, people keep asking me if I have any plans to bring the production back for a second run. I regret to tell them that such an endeavor is a financial and logistical improbability.

But the idea of bringing at least some of the fun and games back to life is always percolating in my imagination.

Realizing we are upon the 15th anniversary of the original, an idea began to brew: What if we revisited some of the songs and films and a few other choice bits from the past?

Hence our (partial) return to Wigan Pier in 2019 in Return to Wigan Pier: A Right Ol’ Knees-Up

Dig deeper down this site where you can:

👉 Learn more about the original 2004 production

👉 Get a heads-up on (what promised to be on) the bill for our Jan. 2019 Return to Wigan Pier

👉 Read the playbill to discover who and what went down on the big night (and more!)

👉 Listen to a couple of “show tunes”

👉 Learn to speak Lanky w/ John Aielli on our KUTX on-air interview

👉 Pay tribute to our generous benefactors

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Wigan 2004: A ridiculous amount of fun

“...a ridiculous amount of fun” is how the Austin Chronicle described the original show, which was packed with song and dance, history and parody, and black and bawdy humor — interspersed with glimpses of the grim realities of life in working-class Wigan, England circa 1930.

The original production was based on the diaries of George Orwell, who traveled to the northern mining towns of England to record for posterity the day-to-day lives of the working men and women of Lancashire.

But we took it much, much further.

The production included — in sketch comedy and film, songs and dance and a little audience participation — deep dives into the histories of coal mining and the UK’s nascent trade union movement. We soaked up the atmosphere on the terraces of Lancashire’s famous football (soccer) clubs — and even played a real game on stage. (Up the Reds!) We danced with outhouses, sampled cups of tea, spent our money on cheap luxuries (while skimping on life’s necessities) and had our heads bashed by Margaret Thatcher and her union busting thugs. A rare old ’istory indeed.

Here is Mr. P’s explanation of why (oh why oh why) he got this idea in the first place. And here is all that survives from the original 2004 website — a long read (of course) but a rich seam of information on the lives of the miners of Wigan and of the artists that told their story in our wee play.

Aye, ’twas a right good time. But way too much to try to do this outing. Instead, we’re putting together a stripped-down version of all those shenanigans for a long-awaited return to Wigan in 2019.

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Wigan 2019: Return to Wigan Pier, a “revue” review

It’s been 15 years since we trekked all the way oop to Our Beloved North in the original “Pier” production. That’s practically a whole generation gone by. Children have been bred, born and raised since the time we last set foot on England’s green and pleasant land...and slogged across the slag-heaps that loomed over the good working men and women of Wigan.

So for one night only, a right ol’ knees-up is in order.

This return to Wigan Pier highlights some of the nearly long-lost bits from the escapades of 2004. It’s a “revue” review, if you like, featuring a cast of unemployed miners with a little help from Mr. George Orwell and his dire diary.

Come see the films and listen to the Late Joys and special guests perform the songs from our first foray to Lancashire’s most famous mining town. Learn to speak “Lanky,” enter the raffle for a chance to win “dinner for two and a movie,” learn a little history and perhaps sample a “cuppa tea.”

All this merriment will be crammed into the Carousel Lounge — aka the 52nd Street Workers’ Club (formerly the Windsor Park Temperance Society) — for one night only!


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Listen to songs from the show

As we gear up for the big night, every so often Mr. P will try to post some of the music and films and such for your amusement.* Here, then are Once Upon A Times, the opening number of The Road (revisited), and You Won’t Know Me, which comes toward the end.

Want to get notice of songs like this, before anyone else, directly in your email inbox?

👉 Sign up on Mr. P’s mailing list and be among the first to enjoy some Wigan-oriented (and sundry future/other) artistic endeavors.

“Amusement” wholly dependent on aesthetic tastes of recipient. Management cannot be held accountable for potential severe disappointment.

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A Short History of Coal and Coal Mining in England

Lowell said to Mr. P that if he had it all to do again, he’d make this thing shorter. Or faster. Or somehow more efficient. Dunno about that. This rough-hewn beauty is both educational and farcical in the best possible way.

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Listen to our on-air interview on KUTX-FM on Jan. 24, 2019

This is a few of us chatting with the always delightful John Aielli on Austin’s KUTX-FM radio show “Eklektikos,” which so far as I can tell, has been on the air since the Carboniferous Period. Mr. P is joined for this brief escapade by Messrs. Mills, Douglas and Porteshawver (John eventually got that pronunciation right!). Have a listen to the interview and Learn to Speak Lanky (Lesson 1).

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Thank you from the pit of our hearts

Hearty thank yous to the following generous souls who have contributed to the project

Bryan Simmons & Tracy McCracken
Peter & Jane Polgar
Vicki & Doug Parker
Shane “Patron of the Arts” Lewis
José & Vicki & Ian Camarena
Mark & Christie Wilson
Phil & Angie Schafer

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The Road to Wigan Pier: miners o' Wigan

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