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Sting bringing his Last Ship home to The Sage Gateshead in April 2015

Wallsend-born musician Sting has announced two exclusive performances of songs from musical The Last Ship at The Sage Gateshead

Frank Ockenfels Sting

It seems visits from Sting are like buses.

It was only yesterday we heard that The Police’s former frontman would be coming to help celebrate the Great North Run Million Opening Ceremony, and now we hear he will be bringing songs from his musical The Last Ship to Sage Gateshead next year for two exclusive performances.

Scheduled to benefit the venue’s 10th Birthday Appeal, the Wallsend-born singer will perform songs from his latest album and upcoming Broadway musical of the same name, on April 24 and 25.

These will be the only UK performances of their kind and are both being supported by Cunard, Shepherd Offshore and Port of Tyne as well as Gateshead and North Tyneside Councils.

Drawn from his childhood growing up beside the Swan Hunters shipyard, The Last Ship remains 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 in October following a successful run of previews in Chicago - but for Sting, it was never in doubt that the songs of The Last Ship should be performed for a North East audience.

He said: “The Last Ship is a musical allegory set in Wallsend, the town where I was born and raised. 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 the Sage next April by many of the region’s best loved musicians including fiddle and Northumbrian pipe player Kathryn Tickell and The Wilson Family from Billingham.

The Last Ship’s homecoming has generated great excitement and support from partners, particularly relating to the North East’s shipbuilding heritage.

Leading the support is Cunard, the international cruiseline company, who commissioned many of their greatest ships from the Swan Hunter ship yard in Wallsend.

Michael Esper in Sting's musical, The Last Ship
Michael Esper in Sting's musical, The Last Ship

David Dingle, CEO of Cunard Line, said:  “We’re delighted that in 2015, Cunard’s 175th anniversary year, we will be able to commemorate that two of our most famous ships were created on the Tyne, through this show. 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.”

Freddy Shepherd, Chairman of Shepherd Offshore said: “I’m absolutely delighted that this show is coming to the Tyne. As an ex-apprentice of Swan Hunter, where I saw many ships constructed, this is an excellent idea and I’m really looking forward to it”.

Andrew Moffat, Port of Tyne Chief Executive Officer, said: “A story celebrating our shipbuilding heritage seemed a good match for the Port of Tyne and we are delighted to help bring the show to many people in the region and to support Sage Gateshead in its tenth anniversary year.”

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

Anthony Sargent, General Director of Sage Gateshead, said: “We’re honoured that Sting has chosen to bring The Last Ship to Sage Gateshead. His support for our 10th birthday appeal means that our work across the region, helping enrich so many lives through our musical education programmes, can continue. For the past ten years, these programmes have benefitted everyone from marginalized, struggling young people through to people at the end of their lives.

Anthony Sargent, General Director of Sage Gateshead announces he is to leave the Sage
Anthony Sargent, General Director of Sage Gateshead announces he is to leave the Sage

“The generosity of Sting, and our other kind supporters, will help even more people as Sage Gateshead enters its second decade”.

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

* Tickets, which range in price from £49.50 to £85 will go on sale to the general public at 10am on Monday, September 1 from the box office on 0191 443 4661 or online at www.sagegateshead.com . Special VIP packages are also available, which will include VIP seating and a pre-show meet & greet with Sting.

Sting.com fan club members and supporters of Sage Gateshead will have an opportunity to purchase tickets in advance of the general public, from August 28 at 10am.

All performances begin at 8pm. In the spirit of the Sage’s mission of accessibility, a limited number of free seats will be distributed the day of each performance via a lottery system. Entries will be taken between 5:30pm and 6:00pm each performance day, with a drawing beginning at 6:00pm (All entrants must be present to win).


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