Some people can harmonise personal fulfilment, family, job, colleagues, nation and — if they have one — community. The rest of us either try to fulfil some of those demands by sacrificing others, or live in unresolved tension between them. 

Alan Plater and Alex Glasgow’s 1968 musical Close the Coalhouse Door, drawing on material by Sid Chaplin, explores those sacrifices and tensions at a brisk pace, rapidly switching between realism and caricature; humour and pathos.  Plater, Glasgow and Chaplin were all socialist writers from industrial Northeast England but their humanity transcends time, location, politics and class


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