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STING brings 'THE LAST SHIP' home to the North East of England

Posted on 27 August 2014

To benefit the Sage Gateshead 10th Birthday Appeal, Sting will perform songs from ‘The Last Ship’ his latest album and new Broadway musical of the same name, on 24th and 25th April 2015.

These will be the only UK performances of their kind and are both kindly supported by Cunard. Additional support comes from Shepherd Offshore and Port of Tyne.

Inspired by and set in Sting’s hometown of Wallsend, The Last Ship tells a universal story. Drawn from his childhood growing up beside the Swan Hunters shipyard, The Last Ship is 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 – but for Sting, it was never in doubt that the songs of The Last Ship should be performed for a North East audience.

The musician 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, Co. Durham.

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.

David Dingle, CEO of Cunard Line, said:

“We’re delighted that in 2015, Cunard’s175th 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. This great partnership saw legendary liners like Mauretania and Carpathia built at Swan Hunter on the Tyne and then serve Cunard for many years”.

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.”

Norma Redfearn, North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor, said:

“We are pleased that the shipbuilding tradition of the area has been recognised by Sting with ‘The Last Ship’. We are very proud of him. He is a credit to North Tyneside and these performances highlight the great history of our borough and the Swan Hunter yard, which is so important to the people of Wallsend and the wider area. We are working hard to ensure the iconic Swans site continues to generate work for our residents and leads the way in innovation – just as the Swan Hunter shipyard did – so we can develop our advanced manufacturing sector and help secure the future of our young people.”

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

Mick Henry, Leader of Gateshead Council, said:

“The success of the 10th Birthday Appeal will contribute to the long-term sustainability of this great cultural venue. We are really grateful to Sting for his fantastic support. As well as being a world-class performance venue, Sage Gateshead provides education and inclusion programmes throughout the North East of England for marginalised young people, vulnerable older people and more – building their skills and abilities, and providing them with a place they can ‘belong’ through music”.

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. 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 will go on sale to the general public beginning Monday 1st September from 10am at, and also at Sage Gateshead’s Ticket Office on 0191 443 4661.

Sage Supporters can now purchase tickets either by calling 0191 443 4661 or in person at Sage Gateshead. fan club members can also purchase pre-sale tickets from their official website.

Benefit ticket prices range cost £49.50, £75 and £85. Special VIP packages are also available, which will include VIP seating and a pre-show meet & greet with Sting.

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).

For more information, contact the Sage Gateshead Press Office on 0191 443 4567.


Notes to editors:

For more information, and for photographs, contact Sage Gateshead Press Office on 0191 443 4567.


Composer, singer, author, actor, activist, Sting was born in Newcastle, England before moving to London in 1977 to form The Police with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers. The band released five albums and earned six Grammy awards. Since 1985, Sting has released 14 solo albums. His latest, ‘The Last Ship’ is inspired by the story of his new musical of the same name drawing upon his memories of the shipbuilding community in Wallsend where he was born and raised. ‘The Last Ship’ will make its Broadway debut at the Neil Simon Theatre with previews beginning September 29 and opening night set for October 26. Sting is a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He has appeared in more than 15 films and authored two books, including the New York Times best-selling memoir, Broken Music. He has sold close to 100 million albums from his combined work with the Police and as a solo artist and has earned an additional 10 Grammy awards, a Golden Globe, an Emmy, and three Oscar nominations. His support for human rights organizations such as the Rainforest Fund, Amnesty International and Live Aid mirrors his art in its universal outreach. Additional information available at and For press materials, including high-resolution photos, please visit:


Opened in 2004, Sage Gateshead has established itself as an international home for music and musical discovery. Its concert programme runs throughout the year, attracting artists from across the world and incorporating all genres of music.

The venue, designed by Foster and Partners, is home to Royal Northern Sinfonia. This orchestra was founded in 1968 and received royal status from Queen Elizabeth II in June 2013. Sage Gateshead is also home to the North East’s longstanding Folkworks programme – formed in 1988 to promote and encourage the furtherance of folk music across the region. What’s more, Sage Gateshead runs many other musical education programmes,– each enabling people of all ages and abilities to become involved in music. 70 per cent of the work of these programmes takes place outside of the venue and at the heart of local communities

In June 2012, Arts Council England set Sage Gateshead the challenge of raising £4 million by July 2015 (in order to claim an additional £2 million in match-funding) to help secure the future of this important work. In December 2014, Sage Gateshead will celebrate its 10th Birthday, Its correspondent birthday appeal runs until the summer of 2015, and features a number of high profile concerts and celebrations. Each will help Sage Gateshead to meet the challenge set by Arts Council England and help to ensure that its work in the North East can continue.


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