Dwarfs dig out a little panto research at mine

Dwarfs dig out a little panto research at mine

South Wales Evening Post, 9 December 2010

Hi-Ho! It's off to work they go ...

Snow White's seven trainee dwarfs have been getting work tips from a team of real-life Neath Valley coal miners.

The fairytale stars are rehearsing for their part in the Class Act Theatre School (Cats) pantomime at Pontardawe Arts Centre.

Director Jill Williams was eager that they understood as much as possible about mining so she arranged for the group to visit Aberpergwm Colliery near Glynneath to see miners at work.

“The Disney version has the dwarves working in a diamond mine but we were more than happy with our visit to see some of Wales's black gold being mined,” she said.

“It was a fabulous experience for our actors, all aged 11 and 12 and we thank everyone at the mine for their warm welcome.”

Pontarddulais-based Cats dwarf Domenique Jones said: “It was great to be at the mine — we had a brilliant time.”

Other dwarfs included Sarah Bawden of Neath, Sara Davies of Tonna, Lauren Rogers of Pontardawe, Sara Dafydd of Craig Cefn Parc and Claudia Richardson of Jersey Marine.

Neil Price, of Western Coal, said: “It was great to have some cast members of Snow White at Aberpergwm. We know they're working hard in rehearsals and we wish them the very best in this month's production.”

The mine is also celebrating news of its own as the Post has already reported.

A multi-billion dollar deal has been struck which will see new jobs being created at the site.

Western Coal, which bought the Aberpergwm mine from Energybuild in August, has been bought for $3.3 billion by leading American coke producer Walter Energy.

The takeover has created the world's leading publicly traded metallurgical coal producer.

It will also lead to a recruitment drive at the Aberpergwm mine in 2011.

Last month the Evening Post reported Western Coal's plans to invest £100 million in the mine over the next three years.

The cash injection is expected to protect the jobs of the 300 staff at site for up to 20 years.

The Aberpergwm mine recently boosted its workforce by another 40 staff, including 13 “green labour” workers who have never worked in mining and will receive full training.

Snow White can be seen at Pontardawe Arts Centre from December 13 to 22

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