“The Happy Lands” is a feature film created by the community in Fife, Scotland. The film tells the story of the 1926 Coal Miner’s strike. Theatre Workshop Scotland has been working with communities across Fife to develop the feature film.
It’s the General Strike 1926 – only seven years after the slaughter of the trenches, miners unions lead the country against savage austerity cuts handed to the nation by a Liberal-Conservative government.
Set in the village of Carhill Scotland, in the heart of the Fife coalfields, we follow the journey of one mining community as they are pushed inevitably towards a labour conflict with the Kingdom Coal Company in a seven month long lock out. “Not a penny off the pay, not a minute on the day” is the chant as the coal company demand longer hours for less pay.
The intimate portrayal of three families show the human consequences of an impersonal economics. The coal company practically owns the village and is colluding with government forces to keep the ‘red threat’ under control. Standing up for their rights inspires national support and galvanizes a defiant spirit of the time. Faith forged through suffering grows and though the strike fails, the seed of a political awakening is sown.
Inspired by true stories from local families in Fife, the Happy Lands follows the journey of law-abiding citizens who become law-breakers in a heroic battle against the state. It’s never a good time to stand up for your rights – but it’s always the right time.
Happy Lands was developed and created along with the Fife Mining community. Primarily, the story has been drawn from the histories of a wealth of community members – with earlier inspirations having been taken from the works of poet Joe Corrie. The majority of cast and many crew hail from Fife – the cast ranging from one year old to ninety years of age. Some 320 participants have taken part in total (and counting).
The end result is a feature length film of exceptional quality casting Fifers in their own history.
Release Date: 30th June 2012