In 1962, a waste dump on the edge of the small Pennsylvania town of Centralia caught on fire, igniting a seam of coal that ran underneath the town and starting what would become the worst underground mine fire in American history – it still burns under the ruins of the town, now written off the map, and is estimated to burn for another century.


Centralia is a new folk musical about the people who tried to save it.


In 1981, Caleb Arthur Green falls into a sinkhole in his garden and feels himself pulled down into the fire. His mother, Miriam, pulls him out before he gets hurt, but the attention Caleb’s ordeal draws turns Centralia into global news, and the town rise up to try and finally get the fire put out, before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Caleb ventures underground , through the abandoned mine shafts and tunnels, to try and put it out himself – as he does, he is haunted by the ghosts of the town, the bloody history of the land, and learns that the fire has been burning for far, far longer.


Early development support was provided by Magnetic North Theatre Company.


Harry Harris


Lucy Jane Atkinson


Workshop – April 2021 & August 2022

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