South Shields playwright Ed Waugh publishes 'Geordie Plays' chronicling the lives of North East superstars

A popular South Shields playwright is publishing a solo collection of scripts which celebrate the area’s heroes.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 1:24 pm
Ed Waugh will spend the autumn promoting his 'Geordie Plays' collection
Ed Waugh will spend the autumn promoting his 'Geordie Plays' collection

Ed Waugh has five plays either premiering or touring in the next twelve months, including the return of Dirty Dusting, his early hit written with Trevor Wood.

But he is not putting his feet up, and will be spending the autumn promoting his new book ‘Geordie Plays’, printed by Tyne Bridge Publishing.

The plays, about forgotten Geordie superstars, comprise Hadaway Harry, about Dunston-born Harry Clasper, a former Durham miner who invented the sport of rowing we know today; The Great Joe Wilson, known as ‘the Bard of Tyneside, who wrote classics such as Keep Your Feet Still, Geordie Hinny; and Carrying David, a heartbreaking tale of Glenn McCrory being inspired by his terminally ill brother David to become the very first North East world champion boxer, in 1989.

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Geordie Plays, by Ed Waugh

Geordie Plays (Volume 1) – described it as "encapsulating the Geordie Spirit" – has also been included in a time capsule buried by Newcastle Cathedral.

Derek Tree, publications manager of Tyne Bridge Publishing, said: "Tyne Bridge Publishing exists to promote local culture and these excellent plays by Ed fit perfectly with our portfolio.

"Demand for the book is already big among people having an interest in North East history and culture, theatre goers, folk music aficionados and sports people showing lots of interest."

Ed, 62, said: "I'm delighted at the success of these plays both in the region, in London, and Northern Ireland. They are fantastic stories and an important part of North East working class culture which is rarely documented and largely forgotten, despite these people being superstars at the time.

"Harry Clasper alone was mourned by 130,000 people when he died in 1870.

"I'd particularly like to thanks to the Arts Council England (ACE) for all their on-going support.

"The pandemic was a huge set back but I'm pleased the plays will be available in book form for future generations and that both Carrying David and Hadaway Harry are again touring the region and London in September and June 2022 respectively.

Ed also has two solo plays which will premiere next March.

The first is at the Gala Theatre in Durham about female footballers in a factory during the First World War called Howay The Lasses.

The second play is called Wor Bella, a one-woman play about Bella Reay, one of the many selfless munitionettes who played for Blyth Spartans Ladies in WW1. Bella, born in 1900, was a prolific goal scorer and was the "Alan Shearer of her day".

The other is Dirty Dusting, written in 2003 and going on to tour the world.

It's autumn and winter outing with local star Leah Bell, Vicky Entwistle of Coronation Street fame, and Vicki Michelle, best known for her role in ‘Allo ‘Allo.

"To have five plays on, possibly six with Waiting For Gateaux in the south of Ireland, is incredible but to have five of them produced by different producers is hugely satisfying,” said Ed.

"Trevor and I have co-written plays about Grace Darling – Amazing Grace, the Lindisfarne Gospels – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Durham, and the West Auckland team who won the first world cup in 1909 – Alf Ramsey Knew My Grandfather, so a lot of my work is North East-based.

"We have fantastic stories here in the North East."

He added: "With Trevor now a nationally award-winning writer of crime books, it shows we still have great ideas to share and lots to say. I'm currently working on three really interesting and exciting projects that I think will stimulate people in the region when they come to fruition."

In addition to writing for Sunday for Sammy, Ed also writes for Christmas at the Cathedral to raise money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

He has also worked with fellow historians and Newcastle City Council to get blue plaques for forgotten Geordie superstars like Joe Wilson, Harry Clasper, Ned Corvan the first professional Geordie singer/songwriter and Billy Purvis (the first professional Geordie entertainer)

Ed was also instrumental in getting Bella Reay a blue plaque at Blyth Spartans football ground.

The book launch of Geordie Plays (Volume 1) will take place on Saturday Oct 16 at Newcastle City Library at 3pm and 6pm.

Ed will follow this with a speaking tour in the autumn and into 2022, at history groups, bookshops and theatres. For further details visit www.wisecrackproductions.co.uk.

For further details on how to buy the book visit www.tiny.cc/TyneBooks and to get tickets for the launch search for Geordie Plays on Eventbrite.co.uk or email: [email protected]

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