Opens 12 March 2018 at Northern Stage, ahead of UK & Ireland Tour

The full cast and creative team has been announced for the UK premiere of The Last Ship – the acclaimed musical by internationally renowned musician Sting – which is to premiere in the UK when it opens at Northern Stage in Newcastle on 12 March 2018.

Rehearsals for the production, which has a TONY-nominated original score and lyrics composed by Sting, began this week. It will play from 12 March - 7 April in Newcastle before embarking on a major UK & Ireland Tour.

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.

Writer and director Lorne Campbell said, “We have brought together a remarkable cast and team of creatives from across the UK with a core of incredible performers from the North East, many of whom are only a generation away from the shipyard workers of the Tyne and the Wear. This personal connection to the project brings an enormous passion and resonance to the company.”

The casting of Joe McGann (Jackie White), Charlie Hardwick (Peggy White), Richard Fleeshman (Gid-eon Fletcher) and Frances McNamee (Meg Dawson) was announced last month.

Completing the cast are Michael Blair (Yard Worker), Joe Caffrey (Billy Thompson), Matt Corner, (Young Gideon & Yard Worker), Marvin Ford (Ferryman & Yard Worker), Orla Gormley (Cathleen & Yard Worker), Annie Grace (Mrs Dees), Sean Kearns (Freddy Newland & Old Joe), Katie Moore (Ellen Dawson), Charlie Richmond (Adrian Sanderson), Parisa Shahmir (Young Meg), Kevin Wathen (Davey Harrison) and Penelope Woodman (Baroness Tynedale).

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.

Joe McGann, perhaps best known for his lead role as Charlie Burrows in the TV 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), Oliver! (London Palladium), Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof (UK Tour, 2008), Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls (2006 ATG UK Tour).

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-song-writer, 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 Uri-netown (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 (North-ern Stage), Epsom Downs (Salisbury Playhouse), The Phoenix of Madrid, The Surprise of Love (The-atre Royal Bath) and Les Misérables 20th Anniversary Gala Performance (West End). Her film credits include Love in Fifteen Minutes.

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

The Last Ship has orchestrations by Rob Mathes musical direction by Richard John, costume design by Molly Einchcomb, movement direction by Lucy Hind, lighting design by Matt Daw and sound design by Seb Frost. Other members of the creative team are dramaturg Selma Dimitrijevic, associate director Jake Smith, casting director Jenkins McShane Casting and associate musical director Sam Sommerfield.

Lorne Campbell said, “It has been in incredible journey to work with Sting and the rest of the team on shaping a show that hopes to connect to the political musical theatre legacies of Joan Littlewood and John McGrath in telling the story of epic societal change through the lens of those working communities who are always the first to feel its effects.

“It is with great excitement we start rehearsals this week. Working from Sting's remarkable score and lyrics, we have spent the last year building a show that not only tells the story of the resilience defiance of communities during the end of an era in British industrial history but also about the legacies of de-industrialisation and the weakening of worker's rights in the United Kingdom that we are living through today.”

North P&I Club will sponsor The Last Ship at Northern Stage. Paul Jennings, Joint Managing Director at North P&I Club said, “Northern Stage is one of the main cultural centres in Newcastle and their production of Sting’s The Last Ship has a strong historical resonance for North. As a leading mutual marine insurance group, North has provided commercial shipping insurance since we were founded in Newcastle in 1860. We’ve also been very impressed by the way Northern Stage outreach programmes engage with local communities and young people across the region and we hope this sponsorship will be the catalyst for more local businesses to support Northern Stage.”

The Last Ship is produced by Northern Stage in association with Karl Sydow and Kathryn Schenker. The show is at Northern Stage from 12 March to 7 April. Book now for The Last Ship

For more information, images or interviews please contact Helen Fussell:

[email protected] / 07801 369 778