During the event, opened entertainingly by producer Karl Sydow, Sting and the cast members performed seven of the songs from the show: The Last Ship (Sting), Dead Man's Boots (Sting and Fleeshman), Sail Away (Hardwick), The Night the Pugilist Learned to Dance (Fleeshman), What Say You Meg? (Fleeshman) and What Have You Got? (Sting and cast).
Each of these songs showed us a great background to the evocative tale that The Last Ship tells, of a community under attack as its crucial shipbuilding industry begins to fail. The performers and Sting himself delivered the songs with huge passion, despite, as Sting himself commented, the earnestness of the hour, with the event beginning at 10 am.
The Last Ship was initially inspired by Sting's 1991 album The Soul Cages and also, as referenced during the event, his growing up in a community where the biggest ships on Earth were being created, at the very end of their streets, towering above, blocking out the sun.
The cast of the tour, which opens at Northern Stage (Newcastle upon Tyne) on Monday 12 March, features Joe McGann (Jackie White), Charlie Hardwick (Peggy White), Richard Fleeshman (Gideon Fletcher) and Frances McNamee (Meg Dawson), 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).
The show then heads off on an eleven-stop tour, visiting Northampton's Royal & Derngate between Tuesday 24 and Saturday 28 April.
Details and ticket available for Royal & Derngate at https://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whats-on/the-last-ship/
Full Tour Dates:
Monday 12 March – Saturday 7 April
northernstage.co.uk | 0191 230 5151
Monday 9 – Saturday 14 April
everymanplayhouse.com | 0151 709 4776
Monday 16 – Saturday 21 April
THE NEW ALEXANDRA, BIRMINGHAM
atgtickets.com/Birmingham | 0844 871 7647
Tuesday 24 – Saturday 28 April
ROYAL & DERNGATE, NORTHAMPTON
royalandderngate.co.uk | 01604 624 811
Monday 30 April – Saturday 5 May
LEEDS GRAND THEATRE
leedsgrandtheatre.com | 0844 848 2700
Monday 7 – Saturday 12 May
nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk | 0115 941 9419
Monday 14 – Saturday 19 May
WALES MILLENIUM CENTRE, CARDIFF
wmc.org.uk | 029 2063 6464
Monday 4 – Saturday 9 June
BORD GAIS ENERGY THEATRE, DUBLIN
bordgaisenergytheatre.ie | +353 1 677 7999
Tuesday 12 – Saturday 16 June
FESTIVAL THEATRE, EDINBURGH
edtheatres.com | 0131 529 6000
Monday 18 – Saturday 23 June
THEATRE ROYAL GLASGOW
atgtickets.com/Glasgow | 0844 871 7647
Monday 25 – Saturday 30 June
YORK THEATRE ROYAL
yorktheatreroyal.co.uk | 01904 623 568
Tuesday 3 – Saturday 7 July
THE LOWRY, SALFORDthelowry.com | 0843 208 6000