Joe Corrie (1894–1968) was a Scottish miner, poet and playwright best known for his radical, working class plays.
He was born in Slamannan, Stirlingshire in 1894. His family moved to Cardenden in the Fife coalfield when Corrie was still an infant and he started work at the pits in 1908. He died in Edinburgh in 1968.
Shortly after the First World War, Corrie started writing. His articles, sketches, short stories and poems were published in prominent socialist newspapers and journals, including Forward and The Miner.
Corrie's volumes of poetry include The Image O' God and Other Poems (1927), Rebel Poems (1932) and Scottish Pride and Other Poems (1955). T. S. Eliot described him as "the greatest Scots poet since Burns".
He turned to writing plays during the General Strike in 1926. His one-act plays and sketches were performed by the Bowhill Players, an amateur company of miners who performed to raise money for local soup kitchens. The company operated professionally as the Fife Miner Players in 1928-31 under the management of comedian and theatrical agent, Hugh Ogilvie. Corrie's first play, Hogmanay was published by the Fife Miners' Reform Union. His full-length play, In Time O'Strife, depicting the General Strike's effect on the Fife mining community, toured Fife mining villages and musical halls all over Scotland.
Corrie wrote a number of plays for groups who took part in the Scottish Community Drama Association's annual competitive festivals. Winning plays included Martha (1935), And So To War (1936) and Hewers of Coal (1937).
Corrie's commitment to naturalism invited strong criticism from the Scottish theatrical establishment in his day and caused him to feel disconnected from other Scottish writers, his work was staged professionally by Scottish National Players and the Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow. Posthumously, agitprop theatre group, 7:84 republished In Time O' Strife alongside a collection of writing and poems after with their 1982 production.
The Corrie Centre community provision in Cardenden was named after Corrie in 1985.
Many of Corrie's poems, including I Am the Common Man, have been set to music. In 2013, The Joe Corrie Project: Cage Load of Men, a collection of poems set to contemporary and traditional music, was released.
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