NORTH-EAST playwright Ed Waugh’s work is well known to County Durham and Teesside audiences. Eighteen months ago Darlington Hippodrome co-produced his self-penned The Great Joe Wilson, while three of his plays, co-written with Trevor Wood – Maggie’s End, Alf Ramsay Knew My Grandfather and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Durham – have been produced by Gala Durham.

South Shields-based Ed is currently writing for Sunday For Sammy and gearing up for a hectic 2020 that includes his work being produced in the UK and Ireland and his latest play transferring to London and Newcastle Theatre Royal.

He says: “Last June we premiered Carrying David in the North-East and it was so well received it transferred to Northern Ireland for a short run in November where it got standing ovations and tremendous reviews.

“We played the prestigious Lyric Theatre in Belfast and dozens stayed behind to talk to Micky Cochrane, who plays Glenn, director Russell Floyd and myself. It was incredible.”

Carrying David is about the inspirational role terminally ill David McCrory played in his brother Glenn becoming the very first world champion boxer from the North-East. It will transfer to London for an out-of-town run before being performed at Newcastle’s 1,200-seat Theatre Royal in April.

Ed continues: “In Antrim, a group of 15 young boxers came along. They had never been to the theatre before but they were so inspired they stayed behind to meet Micky, took posters for their gym and even produced their own video about the play; it is one of the highlights of my 18-year writing career.

“The subject matter might have a backdrop of boxing but it’s a dramatic, funny and heartfelt story about how two brothers loved each other. It’s very emotional and the audiences have been fantastic.

“Based on Glenn’s fantastic autobiography, the story is definitely one for people who like drama and root for the underdog.

“It traces how Stanley-lad Glenn was written off but thanks to David he finds his mojo and becomes the cruiserweight champion of the world in 1989. It’s a County Durham Rocky but better.

“I’m often asked if the story is true; it is, every bit of it. It’s in an emotional, inspirational tale. I remember bawling my eyes out while writing it.”

Ed is currently writing for Sunday for Sammy, which will be held at Newcastle Arena in February and 10,000 people will attend.

“Writing for and working with the Auf Wiedersehen, Pet stars and other North-East legends is brilliant but it’s a fantastic show that involves dozens of selfless people behind the scenes as well, so it’s a proper team effort.”

Once Sunday for Sammy is out of the way, Ed and the Wisecrack Productions team will be focusing on taking Carrying David to the Canal Cafe Theatre in little Venice, London, and then Newcastle Theatre Royal.

Carrying David will be Ed’s fifth play at the premier North-East venue; he wrote three with Trevor Wood – Dirty Dusting, Waiting For Gateaux and Alf Ramsay Knew My Grandfather – his other show was the self-penned Hadaway Harry in 2016, which is touring locally and nationally this summer.

“Philip Bernays, Newcastle Theatre Royal Chief Executive, is very supportive and he’s even opened the Theatre Royal up on Good Friday to accommodate the three-show run,” says Ed.

“It’s incredible too think that Hadaway Harry started off in a boat house in South Shields and Carrying David premiered at the Tyneside Irish Club in Newcastle.

“We have the punk do-it-yourself attitude. This rubs off on theatre people with drive and foresight.”

  • Carrying David is at Newcastle Theatre Royal on April 9 and 10.