2017 was a busy year. In June, we worked with Tom Kelly and Steve Thompson, under the auspices of The Word in South Shields to present a workshop performance of Jobling – a new Musical by Tom and Steve, working with the terrific Westoe Brass Band. This wasn’t a Baby Love Production but as we were both involved and working with our friends, Tom and Steve, we thought it may be of interest. Hopefully, Jobling will ride again, following a terrific audience response. Here’s Helen with Tom and Steve.
And here’s a copy of the press release:
New Tom Kelly Musical written with Steve Thompson Premieres at The Word
Jobling, a new musical, at The Word South Shields, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on 24 June 2017
Book and Lyrics: Tom Kelly
Music and Lyrics: Steve Thompson
Accompaniment: Westoe Brass Band,
Musical Director and Arranger: Lee Morris.
Director: Jonathan Cash
The Word, South Tyneside’s new state-of-the-art cultural venue, is to present a one-off performance of a new musical by the writer of recent hits, Geordie the Musical and The Dolly Mixtures. Written with Steve Thompson. This is a chance for audience members to see something completely new as well as being able to question the writers and offer their feedback.
As part of the Write Festival 2017, The Word is hosting a script-in-hand performance of Jobling, a show based on events surrounding William Jobling, Jarrow Pitman and the last man gibbeted in the north in 1832. It will be performed by a cast of six actors alongside the Westoe Brass Band, finalists in the forthcoming National Brass Band Championships.
The composer, Steve Thompson, has written songs that have been recorded by Celine Dion, Sheena Easton, Elkie Brooks, The Hollies, The Searchers, The Tygers of Pan Tang, Baby Ford, Colin Blunstone, Elaine Page and Chris Farlowe.
William Jobling was tried and hanged at Durham, then gibbeted on Jarrow Slake for his part in the murder of South Shields magistrate Nicholas Fairles.
The action moves between 1831 and 1832 in the north-east and London: from the 1831 Binding Strike, a year after the birth of the Northern Union of Pitmen, led by Tommy Hepburn, to the gibbeting of Jobling in August 1832.
The performance is to be directed by Jonathan Cash, of Baby Love Productions, based in Blaydon. Jonathan is no stranger to Tom Kelly’s work, having toured Tom’s play Baby Love around the region in 2016 with his wife Helen Cash. He also appears in the show as Lord Melbourne, the Home Secretary and Helen Cash plays Isabella Jobling, the title character’s wife.
Helen and Jonathan are pictured here with Tom Kelly. The title role is to be played by Michael Skoyles. The Miner’s Union Leader, Thomas Hepburn, is played by Dan Greener. Ralph Armstrong, the pitman who struck the fatal blow, is played by Stephen Mason and Bethanie Johnson plays Elizabeth Turner, Isabella’s sister.
Jonathan says, ‘I was really excited when Tom approached me to put together a cast to present the show. It’s powerful stuff, as both Tom and Steve have that special ability to write songs that show the feelings of real people and connect with an audience on an emotional level. I know Helen is particularly relishing the chance to perform the two terrific ballads, Me Man’s Gone and Sometimes I Love Him. Tom has been researching this subject for some years and what he doesn’t know about Jobling isn’t worth knowing. I should say that, despite the seriousness of the subject, the show also has its lighter moments. There is a good deal of banter between the miners and the rumbustious wedding scene is a particular highlight. “
Helen says, ‘We’re all looking forward to performing the show at The Word. It’s such a beautiful building and a terrific performance space. Mind you, the cast of six are required to perform a total of 17 roles so this should be a bit of a challenge for us all. Like all Tom’s work, there’s a mixture of laughter and tears. The band brings a special quality to the music, too. Lee Morris has done a super job of the arrangements and listening to them playing the songs for the first time gave me chills.’
Tom Kelly says, ‘I would like to thank the Word for supporting Jobling and bringing a powerful local story to the fore.’
There will be an audience feedback/Q&A session after the show with the writers – with feedback helping the team to further develop the show, with a view to going on to a full production at a later date.
About Tom Kelly
Tom Kelly was born in the ‘Holy City Jarrow’ and now lives happily further up the Tyne at Blaydon.
He has had a varied career from his first job in a shipyard Time-Office; to writing the BBCTV Arena musical documentary Kelly with Alan Price.
He has had a great deal of work produced by the Customs House, a venue he regards as home, including recently the musicals, The Dolly Mixtures, Geordie, Tom & Catherine, Dan Dare & The Machine Gunners and the plays Ride a White Swan, Baby Love, Family Ties, Nothing Like the Wooden Horse, I Love Kent Walton and monologues Five By One, Love in NE32, Secrets and the regional tour Talking Tom and the play for children, The Girl and the Unicorn. In addition he has written two Community Plays, one for South Tyneside, Tyne Songs and The Black Hill and Geordie Ridley for Blaydon Festival. He has written two plays for the Workers Educational Association, Hungry Hearts and Heads (which toured the region) and The Blaydon Bricklayer on Joseph Cowen His most recently play staged I Left My Heart in Roker Park (produced by Cranked Anvil) toured the area in 2014 and was a finalist in the Journal Culture Awards. Early in 2016 his play Baby Love (produced by Baby Love Productions) successfully toured the region.
His show Geordie-The Musical proved a big hit at the Customs House in September 2015 and led to him being nominated as writer of the year in the Journal Culture Awards. Geordie is to be staged again in October 2017 at the Tyne Opera House. In 2016 he followed up with another hit musical, The Dolly Mixtures.
He also writes and performs in ‘Men of the Tyne’ a multi-media show, incorporating film, stories and song and has worked with the South Shields filmmaker Gary Wilkinson on a number of documentaries.
His eighth poetry collection, ‘Spelk,’ was published by Red Squirrel Press in 2016. ‘These are vivid and compelling and often beautiful poems, by turns sad and uplifting, that deserve a wide readership.’ POETRY BOOK SOCIETY
His short stories have appeared on Radio Four and in a number of magazines and now a collection has been published by Red Squirrel Press, entitled The Last Clockwork Whippet on the Tyne and other stories.
About Steve Thompson
Steve is a long-time collaborator of Tom Kelly. Their joint works include ‘Steeltown’ a musical, ‘Songs of Love Work and War,’ a musical review and most recently ‘Down To The River’ a multimedia work of sounds, poetry and photographs which premiered at The Word.
In a long and varied career, Steve also wrote and produced some key recordings during the ‘New Wave of British Heavy Metal’ (NWOBHM) including Raven, Venom (both huge influences on rock giants, Metallica) and The Tygers of Pan Tang, who at one time featured another collaborator of Steve’s – guitarist John Sykes, who went on to join David Coverdale in Whitesnake.
The list of Producers that have worked with Steve is equally impressive; Gus Dudgeon ( Elton John, Chris Rea); Rodger Bain(Black Sabbath); Christopher Neil (Mike & The Mechanics, Marillion, Gerry Rafferty) Peter Collins (Rush, Garry Moore, Bon Jovi).
About Westoe Brass Band
Based in South Shields, Westoe Brass Band was originally known as the Harton Colliery Band. The band today consists of around 30 members from a wide range of different backgrounds across the North East of England.
The band, as we know it today, was formed in 1911 after apparently adopting the players of the Tyne Dock Temperance Band to fulfil the needs for a band at the Harton Colliery in South Shields. Just eight years later they won the British Open Contest, being the first colliery band and the first band from the North of England to do so. The Band was directed by George Hawkins, who was the first amateur conductor to win this great title, regarded by many as the leading accolade in the brass band world. Under their Musical Director, Lee Morris, who has arranged all the songs from Jobling for the show, the band have qualified for the National Brass Band Championship Finals to be held in September 2017 in Cheltenham.
About Jonathan Cash
Jonathan is a Blaydon-based actor and director. He has acted in everything from pantomime to Ibsen and he has been teaching and directing since 2000 around the North East. More recently, in 2016, he produced, directed and appeared in a successful regional tour of Tom Kelly’s play Baby Love, with his wife Helen. He also contributed voice-overs to The Word’s recent installation on the Jarrow marchers and a number of local history DVDs. He is currently directing Paint Your Wagon for Starlight Theatre Company, coming to the Tyne Opera House in November 2017.
Contact for queries:
Tel: 07884 372600