The Last Ship, which was initially inspired by Sting’s 1991 album The Soul Cages and his own childhood experiences, tells the story of a community amid the demise of the shipbuilding industry in, Tyne and Wear, with the closure of the Swan Hunter shipyard.
When a sailor named Gideon Fletcher returns home after seventeen years at sea, tensions between past and future flare in both his family and his town. The local shipyard, around which the community has always revolved, is closing and no-one knows what will come next, only that a half-built ship towers over the terraces. With the engine fired and pistons in motion, picket lines are drawn as foreman Jackie and his wife Peggy fight to hold their community together in the face of the gathering storm.
The ensemble cast is led by Coronation Street, West End and Broadway star Richard Fleeshman as Gideon; Charlie Hardwick, best known for her role as Val Pollard in Emmerdale, as Peggy; Joe McGann (Elf The Musical and The Upper Hand) as Jackie with Frances McNamee, who recently starred in Big Fish in the West End as Meg.
This personal, political and passionate new musical from multiple Grammy Award winner Sting, is an epic account of a family, a community and a great act of defiance. The Last Ship features a TONY-nominated original score with music and lyrics by Sting as well as a few of his best-loved songs; Island of Souls, All This Time and When We Dance.
Image: St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Designed by Joseph Nuttgens in 2006 in celebration of Newcastle’s industrial heritage.
Photograph: Peter Loud