Play About Upper Big Branch Disaster To Be Performed In Wva

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — A play based on the 2010 Upper Big Branch coal mining disaster that killed 29 miners will be performed in southern West Virginia next month.

“Coal Country” recently ended an off-Broadway run in New York City. The play's dialogue is taken directly from dozens of interviews with survivors and family members conducted by husband-and-wife team Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen.

According to a news release, Theatre West Virginia will bring the entire production to Woodrow Wilson High School's auditorium in Beckley on May 9 for a free performance.

Grammy-winning artist Steve Earle performed the music for “Coal Country,” which mixes survivors' stories with folk-inspired songs.

The April 5, 2010, disaster was caused by worn and broken cutting equipment that created a spark and ignited accumulations of coal dust and methane gas at the Massey Energy mine in southern West Virginia. Broken and clogged water sprayers allowed what should have been a minor flare-up to become an inferno. It was the worst U.S. coal disaster in four decades.