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Preview: Jobling at South Shields The Word

New Tom Kelly & Steve Thompson Musical Premieres at South Shields The Word

South Shields The Word
Saturday 24th June 2017

Book and Lyrics: Tom Kelly
Music and Lyrics: Steve Thompson
Accompaniment: Westoe Brass Band,
Musical Director and Arranger: Lee Morris.
Director: Jonathan Cash

Helen Cash (Isabella Jobling) in rehearsal

with the writers, Tom Kelly and Steve Thompson.
The Word, South Tyneside’s new state-of-the-art cultural venue, is to present a one-off performance of a new musical by the writer of recent hits, Geordiethe Musical and The Dolly Mixtures. Written with Steve Thompson, this is a chance for audience members to see something completely new as well as being able to question the writers and offer their feedback.

Steve Thompson
As part of the Write Festival 2017, The Word is hosting a script-in-hand performance of Jobling, a show based on events surrounding William Jobling, Jarrow Pitman and the last man gibbeted in the north in 1832.  It will be performed by a cast of six actors alongside the Westoe Brass Band, finalists in the forthcoming National Brass Band Championships.

The composer, Steve Thompson, has written songs that have been recorded by Celine Dion, Sheena Easton, Elkie Brooks, The Hollies, The Searchers, The Tygers of Pan Tang, Baby Ford, Colin Blunstone, Elaine Page and Chris Farlowe.

William Jobling was tried and hanged at Durham, then gibbeted on Jarrow Slake for his part in the murder of South Shields magistrate Nicholas Fairles.

The action moves between 1831 and 1832 in the north-east and London: from the 1831 Binding Strike, a year after the birth of the Northern Union of Pitmen, led by Tommy Hepburn, to the gibbeting of Jobling in August 1832.

Jonathan & Helen Cash with Tom Kelly
Photo by Victoria McPherson
The performance is to be directed by Jonathan Cash, of Baby Love Productions, based in Blaydon. Jonathan is no stranger to Tom Kelly’s work, having toured Tom’s play Baby Love around the region in 2016 with his wife Helen Cash. He also appears in the show as Lord Melbourne, the Home Secretary and Helen Cash plays Isabella Jobling, the title character’s wife.

Helen and Jonathan are pictured here with Tom Kelly. The title role is to be played by Michael Skoyles. The Miner’s Union Leader, Thomas Hepburn, is played by Dan Greener. Ralph Armstrong, the pitman who struck the fatal blow, is played by Stephen Mason and Bethanie Johnson plays Elizabeth Turner, Isabella’s sister.
Michael Skoyles (William Jobling)
Jonathan says, ‘I was really excited when Tom approached me to put together a cast to present the show. It’s powerful stuff, as both Tom and Steve have that special ability to write songs that show the feelings of real people and connect with an audience on an emotional level. I know Helen is particularly relishing the chance to perform the two terrific ballads, Me Man’s Gone and Sometimes I Love Him. Tom has been researching this subject for some years and what he doesn’t know about Jobling isn’t worth knowing. I should say that, despite the seriousness of the subject, the show also has its lighter moments. There is a good deal of banter between the miners and the rumbustious wedding scene is a particular highlight. “ 
Dan Greener (Thomas Hepburn)
Helen says, ‘We’re all looking forward to performing the show at The Word. It’s such a beautiful building and a terrific performance space.  Mind you, the cast of six are required to perform a total of 17 roles so this should be a bit of a challenge for us all. Like all Tom’s work, there’s a mixture of laughter and tears. The band brings a special quality to the music, too. Lee Morris has done a super job of the arrangements and listening to them playing the songs for the first time gave me chills.’
Tom Kelly says, 'I would like to thank the Word for supporting Jobling and bringing a powerful local story to the fore.'

There will be an audience feedback/Q&A session after the show with the writers – with feedback helping the team to further develop the show, with a view to going on to a full production at a later date.


Jobling, a new musical, at The Word South Shields, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday 24th June 2017

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