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Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Preview: The Last Ship at Newcastle Northern Stage


PRINCIPAL CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR STING’S DEBUT MUSICAL

The Last Ship
Newcastle Northern Stage
Monday 12th March – Saturday 7th April 2018

Joe McGann, Charlie Hardwick, Richard Fleeshman
and Frances McNamee join production

Principal casting has been announced for the UK premiere of The Last Shipthe acclaimed musical by the internationally renowned musician Sting – which is to premiere in the UK when it opens at Northern Stage in Newcastle on 12 March 2018.

The production has a TONY-nominated original score and lyrics composed by Sting. It will play a 4-week season in Newcastle before embarking on a major UK & Ireland Tour.

The show is directed by Lorne Campbell, the artistic director of Northern Stage and has set design by the Tony Award-winning 59 Productions – team behind the video design for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The casting of Joe McGann (Jackie White), Charlie Hardwick (Peggy White), Richard Fleeshman (Gideon Fletcher) and Frances McNamee (Meg Dawson) has today been announced.

Joe McGann, perhaps best known for his lead role as Charlie Burrows in the comedy series The Upper Hand, has had a wide career spanning theatre, television and film. Theatre credits include Elf (Plymouth Theatre Royal/ Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin, Dominion Theatre, West End, and Lowry, Salford); The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (UK Tour); Calendar Girls (three UK tours), Olivier! (London Palladium), Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof (UK Tour, 2008), Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls (ATG UK Tour, 2006).                                                                                                                                                  

Charlie Hardwick played Val Pollard from 2004 to 2015 and again in 2017 in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale. For this role, she won the 2006 British Soap Award for Best Comedy Performance. Stage credits include Hyem (Theatre 503/Northern Stage) and Double Lives (Live Theatre).

Richard Fleeshman is a familiar face on our stage and screens having been acting since the age of 12 when he played the role of Craig Harris in Coronation Street for four years. A talented singer-songwriter, Richard’s stage roles include Sam Wheat in Ghost the Musical, a part he originated and played in the West End on Broadway, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls (UK Tour) and Bobby Strong in Urinetown (original West End production).

Frances McNamee is currently appearing alongside Kelsey Grammer in Big Fish (The Other Palace). Other stage credits include The Mother (Tricycle), Love’s Labour’s Lost, Love’s Labour’s Won (RSC), Punishment Without Revenge (Arcola/Theatre Royal Bath/Belgrade Coventry), Pride and Prejudice (Regent’s Park), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Royal and Derngate), The Borrowers (Northern Stage), Epsom Downs (Salisbury Playhouse), The   Phoenix   of   Madrid, The Surprise of Love (Theatre Royal Bath) and Les Misérables 20th Anniversary Gala Performance (West End). Her film credits include Love in Fifteen Minutes.

Jimmy Nail, who was to take the role of Jackie White, is no longer performing in The Last Ship. He said: “I was very much looking forward to appearing in Sting’s ‘The Last Ship’, particularly here in my home city. Sadly that’s not to be. I would like to thank the production in allowing FACT, the charity of which I’m a patron, to benefit from the planned gala charity event. To anyone who has purchased a ticket, please, go see the show and give this vessel the launch it so deserves. You’ll hear some of the finest musical works ever composed for the stage.”

Sting and producer Karl Sydow.   Photo Mark Savage
Karl Sydow, producer of The Last Ship, said: “After protracted negotiations carried out in good faith we regret to announce the production’s offer of employment to Jimmy Nail has been withdrawn.  All at The Last Ship thank him for his generosity and enormous contribution during what has been an eight year journey.”

Sting and director Lorne Campbell. Photo Mark Savage
Lorne Campbell, Northern Stage’s Artistic Director said, “I am delighted to be welcoming Joe McGann, Charlie Hardwick, Richard Fleeshman, Frances McNamee and the rest of the company to Northern Stage for The Last Ship. Alongside some wonderful old friends of the company, we welcome some remarkable new performers from across the U.K. We are all hugely excited to move into rehearsal and to bring this incredible score and epic story to audiences across the UK and Ireland.”

The Last Ship, which was initially inspired by Sting’s 1991 album The Soul Cages and his own childhood experiences, tells the story of a community amid the demise of the shipbuilding industry in Tyne and Wear, with the closure of the Swan Hunter shipyard.

Newcastle's Northern Stage
When a sailor named Gideon Fletcher returns home after seventeen years at sea, tensions between past and future flare in both his family and his town. The local shipyard, around which the community has always revolved, is closing and no-one knows what will come next, only that a half-built ship towers over the terraces. With the engine fired and pistons in motion, picket lines are drawn as foreman Jackie White and his wife Peggy fight to hold their community together in the face of the gathering storm.

This personal, political and passionate new musical from multiple Grammy Award winner Sting, is an epic account of a family, a community and a great act of defiance. The Last Ship features an original score with music and lyrics by Sting as well as a few of his best-loved songs; Island of Souls, All This Time and When We Dance.  It is the proud story of when the last ship sails.

The Last Ship is produced by Northern Stage in association with Karl Sydow and Kathryn Schenker. The performances in Newcastle are sponsored by North P&I Club. North is a world leading mutual marine insurance group.


On The Web:
#TheLastShip

2018 TOUR DATES

Monday 12 March – Saturday 7 April
NORTHERN STAGE
www.northernstage.co.uk | 0191 230 5151

Monday 9 – Saturday 14 April
LIVERPOOL PLAYHOUSE
everymanplayhouse.com | 0151 709 4776

Monday 16 – Saturday 21 April
THE NEW ALEXANDRA, BIRMINGHAM
atgtickets.com/Birmingham | 0844 871 7647

Tuesday 24 – Saturday 28 April
ROYAL & DERNGATE, NORTHAMPTON
royalandderngate.co.uk | 01604 624 811

Monday 30 April – Saturday 5 May
LEEDS GRAND THEATRE
leedsgrandtheatre.com | 0844 848 2700

Monday 7 – Saturday 12 May
NOTTINGHAM PLAYHOUSE
nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk | 0115 941 9419

Monday 14 – Saturday 19 May
WALES MILLENIUM CENTRE, CARDIFF
wmc.org.uk | 029 2063 6464

Monday 4 – Saturday 9 June
BORD GAIS ENERGY THEATRE, DUBLIN
bordgaisenergytheatre.ie | +353 1 677 7999

Tuesday 12 – Saturday 16 June
FESTIVAL THEATRE, EDINBURGH
edtheatres.com | 0131 529 6000

Monday 18 – Saturday 23 June
THEATRE ROYAL GLASGOW
atgtickets.com/Glasgow | 0844 871 7647

Monday 25 – Saturday 30 June
YORK THEATRE ROYAL
yorktheatreroyal.co.uk | 01904 623 568

Tuesday 3 – Saturday 7 July
THE LOWRY, SALFORD

thelowry.com | 0843 208 6000

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