Available to download (£6.99) or stream (£3.49) on Vimeo here.

The critically acclaimed documentary on Durham Miners’ Gala, world’s leading trade union festival, released globally on social media

The film, produced by Shut Out The Light to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) in 2019.

The Durham Miners’ Gala celebrates the mining heritage and communities of the County Durham region of England and the event is one of the world’s biggest annual festivals of trade union and working-class history, culture and creativity.

Every second Saturday in July, the Gala (known locally as ‘The Big Meeting’) welcomes more than 200,000 people to Durham, for a city-wide festival and procession of over 50 banners and brass bands representing mining communities, trade bodies and public sector institutions from the Durham Coalfield region.

Attracting visitors from all over the world, highlights of the Gala include a rally and carnival at the city’s Racecourse, with speeches from leading labour and trade union movement figures, and a Miners’ Memorial Service in Durham Cathedral, where newly created community banners are blessed by the Bishop of Durham.

Available to download (£6.99) or stream (£3.49) on Vimeo here.


The Big Meeting has screened in cinemas across the UK, receiving a host of 4-star and 5-star reviews describing it as

“rich, heartfelt and intimate tribute”

“A compelling behind-the-scenes portrait”
Radio Times

“It shines a welcome light on a swathe of society given little voice by the contemporary media”
Sight & Sound

A “fascinating insight into a culture still defined by coal mining
Time Out

“Vividly portrays both the pageantry and the politics”
Total Film

A “celebration of the solidarity between working-class people” in  “an undeniably moving depiction of unity born of tradition
Vulture Hound

Available to download (£6.99) or stream (£3.49) on Vimeo here.

Director, Producer and Writer Daniel Draper said,

“Visiting and filming the Gala in 2016, I was exposed to the colour, noise and environment for the first time. It’s something I’ve struggled to articulate to people ever since”

“Visiting and filming the Gala in 2016”, said Director, Producer and Writer Daniel Draper,I was exposed to the colour, noise and environment for the first time. It’s something I’ve struggled to articulate to people ever since”

“The Gala is a living and breathing organism, not static, but immovable – a celebration of working-class life, not just today, but almost as if it takes place in the past and future simultaneously” 

The film follows four key protagonists over the course of the Gala (activist Heather Wood, DMA Brass Band musician Heather Ward, People’s Bookshop worker Charlotte Austin and Sherburn Banner Group member Stephen Guy), as well as contributions by then Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, mining MPs Dennis Skinner and Ian Lavery, Lesbian & Gays Support The Miners founder Mike Jackson and author DBC Pierre, amongst many other voices from the region.

The Big Meeting was produced by Shut Out The Light with the financial support of national trades unions and local union branches across the UK. It is the first official film about the Durham Miners’ Gala and was filmed in 2018, captured with 15 cameras.

Available to download (£6.99) or stream (£3.49) on Vimeo here.


  • Jeremy Corbyn
  • Dennis Skinner
  • Ian Lavery
  • Richard Burgon
  • Angela Rayner
  • DBC Pierre
  • John Irvin
  • Paul Mason
  • Margaret Aspinall
  • Selina Todd
  • Robert Colls
  • Ross Forbes
  • George Robson
  • Heather Wood
  • Heather Ward
  • Stephen Guy
  • Charlotte Austin
  • Laura Daly
  • Lynn Gibson
  • Mike Jackson
  • Brett Haran
  • Ben Sellers
  • Liam Young
  • Emma Shankland
  • Robert McManners

Shut Out The Light

Shut Out The Light is a Liverpool-based independent film company, founded in 2013 by Daniel Draper and Christie Allanson. Draper and Allanson are personally responsible for every aspect of the company’s film-making. Shut Out The Light’s first documentary feature, Nature of the beast, a portrait of veteran socialist Labour MP Dennis Skinner, was released in cinemas in 2017 and toured the UK with over 250 screenings, receiving multiple 4-star reviews (including The Guardian and Radio Times) and a major editorial feature in The Observer.


Daniel Draper

A keen student of cinema from an early age, Daniel Draper spent three-years making his first documentary, Nature of the beast (2017), which he toured around the UK while simultaneously making The Big Meeting. Draper’s passion is to make films which combine his working-class identity and his mission, in all his films, to explore what Hans Werner Herzog describes as “the ecstatic truth”. It was a screening of Nature of the beast at the Redhills home of the Durham Miners’ Association which inspired Draper to make a feature-length film about the Durham Miners’ Gala, which he wrote, directed and produced in 18 months.

Christie Allanson

Senior Producer and Editor at Shut Out The Light, Christie Allanson has worked across a wide range of factual film productions. Allanson organised the extensive UK community screenings tour of ‘Nature of the beast’, creating multiple opportunities for audience engagement with the film’s Director & Writer and herself, in each location.

Allanson was recently commissioned by Lockdown Cinema as Editor for its viral video series Disunited States of America, which formed part of the online cinema’s global marketing launch campaign.

Social Media

Website: https://www.shutoutthelight.co.uk/

YouTube: https://bit.ly/3aEGiUo

Facebook: https://bit.ly/3l11Q2v

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SOTL_Films

Margaret Batty. Political Education Officer, Leeds East CLP.

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