THE outbreak of the Miners’ Strike in 1984 coincided with our first family holiday abroad.

Apart from a short break in Blackpool, we hadn’t gone anywhere for three years in order to save up.

The irony of being abroad while thousands of men were about to embark on one of the most fractious of industrial disputes of modern times was not lost on me, however, and this tear-jerking production brought the memories flooding back.

It’s verbatim theatre, compiled entirely from interviews conducted at the time of the strike and was originally staged elsewhere by new Octagon director David Thacker, who has now brought it to Bolton to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the dispute, with much of the original cast.

The use of the actual language of the miners, their wives and the police — many of whom would admit to buying houses on the back of the strike — by writer Ron Rose works brilliantly and brings out the emotion and true depth of feeling that still resonates in the affected communities.

Given time and distance, the media manipulation and state control of how events were presented on the picket line and in Cortinwood, Orgreave and Armthorpe is easy to see.

People lost jobs, respect, dignity, families and lives, and the enormous significance comes across in emotive speeches magnificently delivered by actors such as David MacCreedy, Dyfed Thomas and Howard Crossley, and with more than a touch of humour by Martin Riley, while Stephen Tiller almost seems overcome by the recollection of events at one point.

Barbara Marten is brilliant as a miner’s wife, ably supported by Margot Leicester, Barbara Peirson and Annie Tyson.

There’s not a dull line or a redundant scene here and The Enemies Within really does deserve more of an audience than it had when I saw it.

* Until Saturday. Tickets: 01204 520661 or