Famed singer Sting will perform songs from The Last Ship, the name of his latest album and also his new Broadway musical, on 24 and 25 April 2015 at the Tyneside shipyard in England to benefit the Sage Gateshead 10th Birthday Appeal. These will be the only UK performances of their kind and are both supported by Cunard Line, which has historic links to the shipyards of the Tyne.

Sting Brings The Last Ship to Tyneside, England, Supported by Cunard Line / © Photo by Frank Ockenfels

Sting Brings The Last Ship to Tyneside, England, Supported by Cunard Line / © Photo by Frank Ockenfels

Inspired by and set in Sting’s hometown of Wallsend, The Last Ship tells a universal story. Drawn from the singer’s childhood growing up beside the Swan Hunters shipyard, The Last Ship is very personal to Sting yet also echoes the experiences of those working in shipyards along the Wear, Clyde, Mersey or any Northern port, as well as post-industrial communities the world over. The play was originally work-shopped with local musicians and actors at Newcastle’s Live Theatre – ahead of its upcoming Broadway debut – but for Sting, it was never in doubt that the songs of The Last Ship should be performed for a North East audience.

“The Last Ship is a musical allegory set in Wallsend, the town where I was born and raised,” said Sting. “The demise of industry – not only in shipyards like Tyneside and Gdansk, but also great manufacturing centres like Detroit – has been well documented and the effect of that demise on the identity and future of local communities particularly resonates with me. I’m very much looking forward to bringing these songs and stories home.”

Sting will be joined onstage at Sage Gateshead by many of the region’s best loved musicians, including fiddle and Northumbrian pipe player Kathryn Tickell and The Wilson Family from Billingham, Co. Durham.

This homecoming of The Last Ship has generated great excitement and support from partners, particularly relating to the North East’s shipbuilding heritage. Leading the support is Cunard Line, the world famous cruise company, with its historic links to the Swan Hunter shipyard in Wallsend.

David Dingle, CEO of Cunard Line, said, “We’re delighted that in 2015, Cunard’s175th Anniversary year, we will be able to commemorate through this show that two of our most famous ships were created on the Tyne. The Last Ship has songs that go to the heart of this country’s shipbuilding industries, and reflect Cunard’s own proud heritage with the North East. This great partnership saw legendary liners like Mauretania and Carpathia built at Swan Hunter on the Tyne and then serve Cunard for many years.”

Norma Redfearn, elected mayor of North Tyneside, commented, “We are pleased that the shipbuilding tradition of the area has been recognised by Sting with The Last Ship. We are very proud of him. He is a credit to North Tyneside and these performances highlight the great history of our borough and the Swan Hunter yard, which is so important to the people of Wallsend and the wider area.

“We are working hard to ensure the iconic Swans site continues to generate work for our residents and leads the way in innovation – just as the Swan Hunter shipyard did – so we can develop our advanced manufacturing sector and help secure the future of our young people,” continued Redfearn.

In benefitting the Sage Gateshead’s 10th Birthday Appeal, proceeds raised from the 24 and 25 April performances will ensure that its vital work in the region will continue.

Sting added, “The North East has a great creative atmosphere and legacy. Sage Gateshead sits proudly at its cultural heart and I’m always happy to support it.”

Information source: Cunard Line

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