Newcastle legend Alan Shearer to make 'theatrical debut' in Wor Bella play, penned by South Shields playwright Ed Waugh
and live on Freeview channel 276
The football superstar and TV pundit has filmed a to-camera piece that involves him talking about Bella Reay (Wor Bella), the Blyth Spartans Ladies centre forward who scored an incredible 133 goals in 30 games between 1917 and 1918.
Shearer's analysis is set against the backdrop of the Munitionettes Cup final in May 1918, which was attended by 22,000 people.
Blyth Spartans Ladies beat Bolckow Vaughan of Middlesbrough 5-0 to win the cup that involved dozens of women's teams from throughout the North East of England
Bella Reay scored a hat-trick in the final.
Shearer said: "The story of the munitionettes who saved the WW1 war effort – working 60 hours a week in dangerous and physically demanding conditions – and still found time to play football for wartime charities, is both incredible and inspirational.
"I'm proud to be part of this excellent project and play."
Ed Waugh, South Shields-born writer and producer of Wor Bella, added: "In latter days Bella has been described as ‘the Alan Shearer of her day’, so who better to ask for his half-time analysis of cup final than the great man himself.
"It is a massive coup for us."
Alan Shearer, the 1996 UEFA Golden Boot winner, holds the record number of goals for Newcastle United (148 in 303 matches), and as a Premiership player for Southampton and Blackburn Rovers he also notched 135 goals in 256 games. His tremendous record included 30 goals for England in 63 games.
Ed added: "Alan has been tremendous. As soon as he heard about the story he came on board and provided his time for free.
"To thank Alan for his support, we are delighted to do post-show collections for the Alan Shearer Foundation. The Foundation was set up to directly support the Alan Shearer Centre in Newcastle which is run by St Cuthbert’s Care and provides a range of specialist respite, residential and social facilities for people with complex disabilities and acute sensory impairments.”
Wor Bella, starring Lauren Waine as Bella Reay, will premiere at Blyth Phoenix Theatre in Northumberland on Friday, March 25, before touring the North East, taking in Hexham Queen Hall, Newcastle Theatre Royal (studio), Alnwick Playhouse, Playhouse Whitley Bay and ending at South Shields Westovian Theatre, South Shields on Saturday, April 2.
Visit www.worbella.co.uk for further details.
For further details about the Alan a Shearer Foundation visit https://www.alanshearerfoundation.org.uk
Wor Bella is supported by Arts Council England.