A raft of local celebrities including Chris Kamara, Steph McGovern and Mark Benton have today (7 April) helped Teesside International and Twenty Seven Productions announce a new play – with the premiere set to be held at the airport.
Teesside Airport has entered into a partnership with the production company over the show “Steel and Iron”, which also features contributions from a wealth of local talent.
Top-ten charting Middlesbrough singer-songwriter Alistair Griffin has composed the music and songs for the piece, with brother and sister duo Helen and Joe Hammill, AKA Cattle and Cane, and Maximo Park’s Paul Smith also adding their skills.
Based on a concept by Middlesbrough-born producer Katie Gibson and written by John Hoggarth, it follows a motley crew of people all from different backgrounds but united by Middlesbrough, and asks: “What happens to a place that is defined by its heritage and industry, when those are taken away from it?”.
Teesside International’s partnership with the company will also see Alistair compose a song specifically for the airport to help it market its activities and raise its profile even further locally, nationally and globally.
Phil Forster, Interim Managing Director of Teesside Airport, said: “Although Steel and Iron has been in the pipeline for a while, I don’t think it could be coming at a better time for our airport or our region.
“We are celebrating our 80th birthday with an exhibition as we take forward massive redevelopment work, while our history of iron and steelmaking is being talked about again with the regeneration of the Teesworks site. People are thinking more than ever about our past, and how that’s going to shape future of the Tees Valley and all this makes Katie’s play a brilliant fit.
“It shows Teesside international is once again thinking outside of the box to not just give great quality flights to a growing number of worldwide destinations but to support our area and help shout about it in other ways. I can’t wait to see the finished play and hear Alistair’s song, which will surely stick in the hearts and minds of our local people.”
Producer Katie Gibson said: “This production has been brewing since 2016 but unfortunately, like most things, it recently fell victim to the dreaded Covid-19 which put the brakes on but now we’re back and ready to roll.
“We’ve drafted in a host of brilliant people from across our area, including some of the brightest musical talents, to help us tell our story, connect with our audience and challenge preconceptions around Middlesbrough and regional theatre. I’m so excited to finally be bringing our vision to the stage, with a previous sneak peek winning rave reviews.
“Like everyone from around here, I’m proud to see our airport turning a corner and I know it will be one of the keys to our future. I’m delighted to be working with Phil and the team to premiere our show and give them a memorable and fitting song in the process!”
Coronavirus restrictions permitting, a pre-launch show will take place at the airport on 5 August, ahead of its run at Middlesbrough Town Hall the following week, with more information coming soon.