Tickets on sale for Wor Bella in South Shields as play celebrates 'Alan Shearer' of WWI-era football

Tickets for the eagerly awaited new play by South Tyneside's internationally produced playwright Ed Waugh are now on sale.

Monday, 24th January 2022, 5:23 pm

Wor Bell tells the incredible story about the phenomenon of women's football during World War I, the latest in a series of works by Ed celebrating sporting heroes from the North East’s past.

The production is coming to Westovian Theatre in South Shields after a regional tour that includes Newcastle Theatre Royal (Studio), Playhouse Whitley Bay, Alnwick Playhouse and Hexham Queen's Hall.

The play is about the million-plus women "munitionettes" who stepped into dangerous and exhausting industrial work when men were conscripted in 1916.

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Lauren Waine as Bella.

"These selfless women not only saved the war effort but raised money to support injured soldiers, widows, orphans and other charities by playing football,” said Ed.

"Hundreds of women played for dozens of teams in the North East and matches attracted big crowds, including 18,000 at St James' Park for the final in March 1918.

Wor Bella is told through the eyes of Bella Reay, played by top North East actress Lauren Waine.

Lauren said Bella was the ‘the Alan Shearer of her day’.

Lauren Waine as Bella.

"She scored 133 goals in 30 matches for the unbeaten Blyth Spartans Ladies who won the inaugural Munitionettes Sup in 1918 at Ayresome Park, the then home of Middlesbrough FC, in front of 22,000 people,” said Lauren.

"It's an incredible story and South Tyneside was at the forefront of this. Westoe in South Shields hosted Blyth Spartans and 3,000 people turned up. And Palmers Shipyard in Jarrow won the 1919 Munitionettes Cup, led by 17 year old Mary Lyons.

"Mary also turned out for Blyth Spartans in the final in 1918 as a guest player, and in addition to notching a goal in the 5-0 victory, Mary was awarded the "Woman of the Match" accolade."

Wor Bella opens at Blyth Phoenix Theatre on Friday, March 25, and is coming to Westovian Theatre on Saturday, April 2. There will be a 2.30pm matinee and a 7.30pm evening show.

Lauren Waine as Bella.

Tickets only £14 (plus 95p booking fee). Visit or from The Word, Market Place, South Shields, (0191) 424 7788.

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