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June 2018

Liverpool Echo Arena. Uniglobal/Culture Liverpool/LJMU. 

Writer and director

Uniglobal World Congress Opening Event

Here Comes The Sun – An Epic Story of the Workers’ Struggle and the Will to Win - Making It Happen!

After a series of conversations with the city, meetings with the Chief Executive Philip Jennings of UniGlobal and a full consultation process and presentation to his team in Nyon, a creative production team led by Andrew Sherlock of LJMU has been appointed to make the opening cultural event for their Global World Congress - this coming June 17th 2018.

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I really thought carefully about writing this script. I was wary at first, partly I suppose, it was because there has been so much stuff already written and made about the Beatles. But what intrigued me was Brian himself. The first great pop impresario, the immaculate showman and the lonely, complicated private man.  So then I hit the books, the archives, clips and more interviews with people who had known Brian. Wading through the tons of information and interviews has been fascinating, although it felt, at times, like drowning in material – but slowly but surely, in the writing, researching and conversations with ‘Beatles experts’, which are, as it turns out just about everyone in Liverpool, the UK and the world, l feel like I got to know something of the man brought up around the corner from me. It always feels like you are getting somewhere as a writer on a project like this when all the facts, dates and anecdotes fade into the background and the voice starts speaking to you.

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My agenda as a dramatist has shifted along with the economic and social regenerative progress to self-consciously presenting iconic success stories, which, though the pain and difficulties of those involved is still very much present, are designed to both appeal to a civic sense of pride and optimism and to fly in the face of detractors who would continue to purvey negative images and stereotypes of Liverpool.

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Director of works by Flann O'Brien including 'The Brother' and 'Thirst'.

Vienna University, International Flann O’Brien Conference. European University tour: Aberdeen, Liverpool, Trieste, Lille, Edinburgh, Prague. 

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Walltalks’ agenda was to utilise the legacy of Liverpool’s complex history and experience to fuel its progression and propel its realisation that it is time to move on.

Liverpool was now gearing up to re-brand itself and trade off its unique heritage for its particular function as a world port, commercial centre and a key axis of 19th and 20th century immigration/emigration traffic. Anxious to promote itself as the ‘World in One City’ as the banner opposite Lime Street Station proclaimed, Liverpool was also careful to hold on to its uniqueness of character. 

The influx of these communities and the impacts of multi-nationalism and ethnic diversity in the city are under-explored. In 2004, Jen Heyes, an LJMU drama graduate now running her own production company, had approached me with a commission from the Culture Company. After a series of research and development scripts and showings this led to the creation of a large scale site-specific drama based in the Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse in the lead up to Liverpool Capital of Culture Year in 2008. Robyn Archer, the then Director of the Culture Company, was also keen that it promoted the internationalism of the city. The opportunity to create the third work about impact of ethnicity in the city and the network of stories they brought with them now presented itself.




This play had begun in 1990 when my musical partner Matthew Wood and I were tutors leading an inter-generational venture for the Everyman Hope Street Project. We had a small group of young men aged 18-25 to construct a reminiscence project, as part of their Acting Out community arts training course. With work on Fall From Grace already well underway, I had an idea to use this opportunity to begin to explore Liverpool’s relationship with its own reason for existence, its function as a port and relationship with the sea and seafaring. As with the Irish influence, I could find little or no extant dramatic plays or fictional texts exploring the working lives of Liverpool’s 20th century merchant marine or contemporary seamen’s experience. Though I would later draw on earlier works by the likes of Coleridge, Melville and Conrad, I needed to find some primary source material to get to the story of a powerful world port’s short sharp and dramatic decline and of the loss of an indigenous seaman’s industry. My further research and enquiry led me to the gloriously poetically named ‘Apostleship of the Sons of the Sea’ which sounded like an epic, movie title, but was in fact a retirement home specifically for ex-seafarers in south Liverpool’s district of Gateacre.



Early 1990's

Writer and director 

This play was an examination of the profound impact the Irish diaspora had on Liverpool. Fall From Grace took on the task of making difficult, dense, contentious, politicised material popular and accessible to a general theatre-going and at times first-time theatre-going audience. It was buoyed by its framing as a family saga, with lyrical, vernacular language and liberal use of traditional Irish and original music and song. In part, it was a meditation on the concept of ‘Irishness’ itself. It was also a reflection on the impact that decades of Irish immigration have had on the city.


Theatre Writer

2017/18 Uniglobal World Congress Opening Ceremony. Liverpool Echo Arena. Uniglobal/Culture Liverpool/LJMU. 

2017/18 A Drink With Brendan Behan – (Co-written with Gerry Smyth). LJMU funded reading Liverpool Royal Court Theatre Studio. IASIL Conference Radboud University, Nijmegen, July 2018.

2017 Gangsta Town, Five Gold Rings – longlisted for the Bruntwood International Playwriting Prize, Royal Exchange Manchester

2017 King of the North – commissioned by the Royal Court Liverpool

2015 Epstein - The Man Who Made The Beatles. New production mounted in Johannesburg and Cape Town South Africa

2014 Epstein - The Man Who Made The Beatles. Transfer to London Leicester Square Theatre

2013 Them’s the Breaks, Liverpool John Moores University

2013 The Judgement of Hakim, Writing on the Wall Festival / Unity Theatre 

Liverpool / Select UK tour

2012 Epstein – The Man Who Made The Beatles, Epstein Theatre Liverpool 

2008/10 Shankly Show, transfer to Royal Court Theatre Liverpool and The 

Liverpool Echo Arena 2008 The Shankly Show, Liverpool Culture Co/ITVGranada

2004 Wall Talks, A site specific Drama installation for Liverpool’s Capital of Culture Company

2001 Sex&Drugs&..., Hindley Prison

1998 Road to Nowhere, Theatre in Education, Wigan & Leigh Council

1991 Whirlwind History of Gas, Revue Play commissioned to open the National Museum of Science and Industry. Manchester

1990 Sting in the Tale, Loudmouth Theatre Company. National Tour

1988-89 Stand–Up Comedy. Scripted and performed on stand-up circuit both solo and as double act with Alastair McGowan

1988 Goodnight, One-man comedy show written and performed. Toured Nationally. Independent Pick of the Fringe, Edinburgh Playhouse/Festival 1988 Sweeney. Sweeney Todd adaptation for children. Edinburgh Playhouse/ Festival

1986 Watching the Detectives, Arena Theatre, Sherman Theatre. Cardiff 


Musical Theatre Writer/Director 

2012 Pool of Blood, Surgeon’s Hall, Edinburgh Fringe Festival

2002 Kiss My Blues, Contact Theatre Manchester,

2000 The Weather People, Comic Opera, NW Tour

1996 Loco Salsa, London Guild Hall

1995 Ballad of the Sea, Liverpool Everyman Theatre

1994 Fall From Grace, transferred to Liverpool Playhouse with Bill Kenwright

1993 Tunellers’ Tales, Merseyside Maritime Museum

1992 Fall From Grace, Toured Nationally, Internationally

Theatre Direction

2017/18  Uniglobal World Congress Opening Ceremony. Liverpool Echo Arena.  Uniglobal/Culture Liverpool/LJMU.  June 2018.  Artistic Director.

2017  Thirst by Flann O’Brien Saltzburg University

2011-2016  The Brother by Flann O’Brien, Vienna University, International Flann O’Brien Conference. European University tour. Aberdeen, Liverpool, Trieste, Lille, Edinburgh, Prague

2008  Later, Liverpool World Museum / LJMU. Site specific large scale drama

2007  Around the Pool in 800 Years, Liverpool Culture Co / LJMU – history show for Royal Gala Opening Ceremony St Georges Hall – HRH Prince Charles

2007  The Bibby Line. Created a Musical Theatre Celebration of 200 years of the shipping line at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral for Royal Gala Performance – HRH Princess Anne

2006  Pool of Blood, Everyman Theatre Liverpool / LJMU

2005  City of the Sea,  Everyman Theatre Liverpool / LJMU

2004  Driving Ambition.  Created LJMU/Culture Liverpool/Schools car crime project, showcased at the Paul McCartney Auditorium LIPA.

1994 Night Must Fall by Emlyn Williams, Chester Gateway Theatre. With Michael Lavell

1993  Do You Believe in Angels by Andrea Earl, Birmingham University Playwriting M.A. Showcase/Unity Theatre, Liverpool

1992 A View From The Bridge by Arthur Miller, Kaboodle Theatre Company

Two ‘Best Actor’ Liverpool Echo Awards 

1992 Night Must Fall by Emlyn Williams, Chester Gateway Theatre. With Michael Lavell

1992 The Kite Flyer by Jeff Young, Liverpool Everyman Theatre

1991 Billy the Kid by David Holman, Action Transport Theatre, touring

1991 Vagabond Moon by Jeff Young.Unity Theatre Liverpool

1990 Love for Three Oranges by Prokoviev, English National Opera.  Staff Director Richard Jones’ production

1989-90  Associate Director in Residence, Liverpool Everyman Theatre

1989  Sting in the Tale, Loud Mouth Mime Theatre, National Tour

1988 Sweeney Todd, Edinburgh Playhouse Studio  

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