THE LAST SHIP
PRINCIPAL CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR STING’S DEBUT MUSICAL
Joe McGann, Charlie Hardwick, Richard Fleeshman
and Frances McNamee join production
Opens 12 March 2018 at Northern Stage, ahead of UK & Ireland Tour
Principal casting has been announced for the UK premiere of The Last Ship – the 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.”
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.”
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.
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.
2018 TOUR DATES
Monday 12 March – Saturday 7 April
northernstage.co.uk | 0191 230 5151
Monday 9 – Saturday 14 April
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
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
Northern Stage, in Newcastle, makes ambitious, intelligent, enjoyable theatre. The company has a reputation for reviving classic plays in fresh adaptations and creating bold new work. It has been one of the UK’s most popular national touring companies for the last 20 years. Alongside its own work, Northern Stage presents the best regional, national and international theatre. Its extensive Creative Residencies programme supports local and national theatre-makers to develop their work at Northern Stage and a year-round programme of projects and events encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to take part in making theatre. Northern Stage also hosts a venue at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, presenting some of the most interesting theatre from across the north of England. northernstage.co.uk
Sting was born Gordon Matthew Sumner on 2 October, 1951 in Wallsend, North Tyneside, Tyne and Wear, England, the eldest of four children of Audrey (Cowell), a hairdresser, and Ernest Matthew Sumner, an engineer and milkman.
He grew up in the turmoil of the ship-building industry and wanted to become a musician very early having developed a love for the bass guitar. He played in jazz/rock bands such as “The Last Exit” and other various outfits, including a Dixieland jazz group, and in 1977, he formed the rock trio, The Police with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers.
In 1984, he went on to record solo albums, and has evolved in to one of the most prolific songwriters and musicians in the world. His latest album, 57th & 9th, was released in November, 2016 followed by the critically-acclaimed 57th & 9th World Tour which recently concluded having performed 115 concerts throughout North America, Asia, Latin America & Europe. Hailed “the show of a lifetime” (The Vancouver Globe & Mail), Sting: Live at The Olympia Paris will be released November 10 on DVD and captures the musician’s guitar-driven rock tour as it hit the French capital at the iconic venue in April, 2017.
Throughout his illustrious career, Sting has sold close to 100 million albums from his combined work with The Police and as a solo artist. He has also delved into acting, having appeared in over 15 films such as Quadrophenia (1979) and Bring on the Night (1984) and has published a memoir entitled Broken Music in 2003, which spent 13 weeks on The New York Times Best Sellers list. He has received honorary Doctorate of Music degrees from Northumbria University in October 1992, Berklee College of Music in May 1994 and from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 2006.
Lorne is Northern Stage’s Artistic Director. Before moving to Newcastle upon Tyne he was
Co-Artistic Director at theatre company Greyscale and a freelance director and theatre-maker. He was also the course leader of the BA Directing programme at Drama Centre, Central St Martins.
He is a graduate of the Channel 4 Young Theatre Director’s Scheme and a former Associate Director at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. During his time at the Traverse he directed a range of work including Distracted by Morna Pearson (Winner of the Meyer Whitworth Award) and Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Alan Wilkins which was named Best New Play Critics’ Awards Theatre Scotland in 2007.
Lorne has also worked extensively in mainland Europe and Britain and since 2008, he has been a freelance director with works at The Gate, London, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, Birmingham Rep and Oran Mor. He founded his company Greyscale in 2009 which has produced touring work ever since including What Would Judas Do? by Stewart Lee, What The Animals Say by David Ireland and A Prayer by Selma Dimitrijevic.
For Northern Stage Lorne has directed The Bloody Great Border Ballad Project at the company’s Edinburgh venue (winner of the 2013 Sprit of the Fringe Award) He has also directed two Christmas productions for children aged 7+ Dark Woods, Deep Snow: A Grimm Tale for Christmas and Get Santa, Cyrano de Bergerac in co-production with Northampton’s Royal & Derngate (2015), Get Carter (incl UK tour) in 2016, Dr Frankenstein (including UK tour) in 2017.
59 Productions is the Tony Award-winning company of artists behind the video design of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, globe-trotting smash hit, War Horse, the design and creative direction of the record- breaking David Bowie Is exhibition and the decor concept design for The Met Ball, hosted by Anna Wintour. Led by directors Leo Warner, Mark Grimmer, Lysander Ashton and Ricahrd Slaney, with the company’s New York branch led by Ben Pearcy, 59 are world-leading specialists in design for stage and live events.
Building on a decade of experience making theatrical work for some of the world’s greatest venues – including the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House, The Metropolitan Opera and the Salzburg Festival – the Company has more recently become renowned for creating spectacular public artworks, projection-mapping some of the world’s most iconic buildings, including the Sydney Opera House, Edinburgh Castle and the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
As of 2017, the company has also begun producing its own theatrical work, with its first full scale production, Paul Auster’s City of Glass playing at Home, Manchester and the Lyric, Hammersmith.
Karl Sydow has produced Dirty Dancing, the Classic Story Live on Stage across the UK for the past 11 years.
Other credits in the UK include Sinatra: The Man and His Music directed by David Gilmore, Backbeat directed by David Leveaux; Dish of Tea With Dr Johnson directed by Max Stafford-Clark; Tritych by Edna O’Brien; Memory directed by Terry Hands; The Line directed by Matthew Lloyd and Jenůfa directed by Irina Brown, both written by Timberlake Wertenbaker (Arcola); Ring Round the Moon directed by Sean Mathias (Playhouse); Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage (Piccadilly, Aldwych, UK tour, Germany, France, Australia and Italy); the spectacular multimedia production Sinatra at the London Palladium directed by David Leveaux with choreography by Stephen Mear; And Then There Were None with Tara Fitzgerald (Gielgud); the London and Sydney production of Dance of Death with Sir Ian McKellen, Frances de la Tour and Owen Teale; Bea Arthur (Savoy); Auntie and Me with Alan Davies and Margaret Tyzack (Wyndham’s); Michael Moore, Live! (Roundhouse); the West End Premiere of Noël Coward’s Semi-Monde; Kevin Elyot’s Mouth to Mouth with Lindsay Duncan and Michael Maloney (Albery); David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow with Mark Strong, Patrick Marber and Kimberly Williams; Drummers by Simon Bennet and Some Explicit Polaroids by Mark Ravenhill – winner of the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Newcomer – both directed by Max Stafford- Clark for Out of Joint; Macbeth with Rufus Sewell (Queen’s); A Swell Party – A Celebration of Cole Porter (Vaudeville); Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good (Olivier Award for Best Play); Hysteria (Olivier Award for Best Comedy) and an adaptation of Sue Townsend’s novel The Queen and I which was Out of Joint’s inaugural production.
In North America he has produced Backbeat (Royal Alexandra, Toronto and Ahmanson, Los Angeles) directed by David Leveaux with international tours including The Last Confession with David Suchet; the centennial production of Under Milk Wood; and the Out of Joint revival of Our Country’s Good.
In February 2018, Karl will produce Alan Ayckbourn’s The Divide with The Old Vic and Edinburgh International Festival. And then in April, David Hare’s The Moderate Soprano at the Duke of York’s.
Kathryn Schenker (Producer)
Kathryn Schenker was Sting’s longtime manager and has more than 30 years’ experience in the entertainment business. She has produced three Emmy Award-winning musical specials and numerous music documentaries, including the BBC One program, Sting: When The Last Ship Sails. She was the lead producer of the Broadway production of The Last Ship.