GEORDIE PLAYS new book by writer & theatre producer Ed Waugh

A new book released by the Wisecrack team –  Geordie Plays, is a compilation of North East scripts from successful plays Hadaway Harry, The Great Joe Wilson and Carrying David written by Ed Waugh.

‘In our small way, Wisecrack Productions try to give a voice to our forgotten heroes who have given us so much yet barely mentioned today.

We are taught at school that ‘our’ history is about kings and queens. Rubbish! It’s the working class who create the wealth in society and yet our real history is ignored by the London-centric educational establishment’.

‘One example is children are taught about the Great Fire of London in 1666, yet the great fire of the Quayside in 1854 is never mentioned. That fire started in Gateshead and spread across to Newcastle and laid waste to both quaysides’.

‘Around 700 working people were made homeless and many dozens died. This loss was much greater than the Fire of London but how many Geordies know about our fire?

A script featured in the book is about a former Durham miner, Harry Clasper, the story follows his journey from working class pitman in Jarrow, to rowing Champion of the World.

‘When you tell people about Harry Clasper who invented the sport of rowing that we know today – people can’t believe it. Nor can they grasp that 130,000 people attended Harry’s funeral in 1870’.

Waugh has also included the story of North East singer and song writer, Joe Wilson.

‘Joe chronicled working class life and supported workers on strike, yet he doesn’t appear on the educational curriculum, even in the North East where he was a superstar. The Scots celebrate Burns Night annually. We should be celebrating Joe Wilson Night every year’.

The third script in the book, Carrying David, focused on two McCrory brothers, one severely disabled and the other who became boxing’s Cruiserweight Champion of the world.

Glenn’s story about becoming a world champion is incredible but add in the inspiration he got from terminally ill brother David, and you have something special. Rocky 1 is a great film but Carrying David, about a ‘Country Durham Rocky’ is better’.

‘To be champion of the world at anything is a tremendous accomplishment but as a boxer, that takes dedication and skill. David was the one pushing Glenn to bounce back when it looked like his career was over. An incredible, heart-warming, funny and emotional story’.

Both Hadaway Harry and Carrying David are touring North East theatres, Carrying David in September 2021 and Hadaway Harry in June 2022. Both are planned to be hitting London stages.

The Geordie Plays book launch will be held on Saturday October 16, in Newcastle City Library at 2pm & 7pm. The afternoon show will be a free illustrated talk, evening tickets priced £3 will include songs and entertainment from the cast of the plays.

Ed added ‘Obviously, this is subject to what happens with the pandemic and could change but we are very confident the talks will go ahead on that date’.

Volume One of Geordie Plays can be bought from Tyne Bridge Publishing website, online at Waterstones, Blackwell’s, WH Smiths, Amazon, Wordery and Foyles.

Also available from high street shops Waterstones, Meander, The Baltic and Newcastle City Library. 

Posting soon a new interview with Micky Cochrane who stars in the one man show  ‘Carrying David’ in theatres during September 2021.

For full tour dates contact:

https://www.wisecrackproductions.co.uk/carrying-david

Gary Alikivi  August 2021

BOB & WEAVE with North East actor Micky Cochrane

‘Carrying David’ is a one-man play reflecting the highs and lows of Glenn McRory’s unrelenting drive and sacrifice to become the first world boxing champion from the North East.  After performances last year, a short run of dates were scheduled for April.

The play was written by Ed Waugh (The Great Joe Wilson, Hadaway Harry) and starring Micky Cochrane. When I caught up with Micky I asked him what impact the Coronavirus pandemic having ? Unfortunately the shows at the Newcastle Theatre Royal and Canal Cafe Theatre in London have been cancelled. I really hope we can reschedule but it’s all so uncertain now. I’d worked hard to get into really good shape so I’ll continue with that. Long term I don’t know what will happen.

What other work have you done with writer, Ed Waugh ? One of the earliest plays of my career was The Revengers written by Ed and Trevor Wood. I also did Alf Ramsey Knew My Grandfather by the duo. In recent years I’ve worked a lot with Ed who I get on very well with. I played music hall legend Joe Wilson in the ‘Great Joe Wilson’ in 2018 and grew to have great affection for the man.

Have you had a magic moment on stage when it’s all going great ? Absolutely. It’s a great feeling when you know going into a run how strong the show is and then the audience lift it to another level. I remember doing ‘A Nightingale Sang’ by C.P. Taylor. Most of the cast were on stage for my entrance and I couldn’t wait to get out there. The script is so good and the cues so fast it was such a buzz to be part of it.

With ‘Carrying David’ in every performance I felt I recognised a moment where I knew the audience were with me and with the story. That’s a pretty special feeling.

How did you get interested in acting ? I always acted and performed at school. Got my A for Drama but left school thinking it’s not something that someone of my background does. I maintained an interest from afar but didn’t see it as a career. I had all kinds of offers to join youth theatre and Drama clubs.

After years of many jobs and no direction it was my mother who persuaded me to give it a shot. I took a degree, got an agent and became a professional actor.

Is stage work in your family ? Singing and performing definitely. My mother is an amazing singer with a lovely voice. My older sister and younger sister are both good singers. My younger brother Stephen is a singer and fantastic songwriter and we are in a band This Ground Moves. My niece has an amazing voice. We’re the Geordie Osmonds.

Have you worked in TV or radio ? Yes, highlight was doing Man Down with Greg Davies. A great experience and a good laugh. Done quite a few ads in TV and radio.

What role would you like to play ? It’s ambitious, but I’d love to explore the part of Johnny Byron in ‘Jerusalem’. Maybe a ‘Line of Duty’ villain, love playing shady characters. I also have a real interest in playing strong characters or any who have a vulnerability to them.

Have you any work lined up this year ? I was meant to be working at Live Theatre this summer, with November Club in late summer and at Alnwick Playhouse at Christmas, but Live Theatre has been cancelled for now. It’s fingers crossed for the others. Who knows what happens next. It’s a sad and surreal situation we’re in.

Interview  by Gary Alikivi  March 2020.