With the dismal way this season has panned out, fans could be forgiven for forgetting about the present for the time being and remembering more auspicious and victorious times in the club’s history. That’s certainly what theatre-goers got the chance to do three years ago, when Sunderland-based theatre company Cranked Anvil produced the play I Left My Heart In Roker Park. The play won Revival of the Year from the British Theatre Guide, was shortlisted in the Journal Culture Awards, and won Performance of the Year for its actor (and Cranked Anvil founder) Paul Dunn.
Well, in September this year, Cranked Anvil are back, and this time they are producing a double-bill of short plays based around the club – and they need your help!
The play will be a celebration of 20 years of the Stadium of Light, and they're looking for fans to share their experiences to do with the stadium.
Some of the stories will be incorporated into new play ‘Wise Men Say’, so your words will come alive, performed by professional actors in venues like Durham Gala, Customs House, Washington Arts Centre, the newly-opened Peacock in Sunderland (formerly the Londonderry), as well as touring to London to the South East Supporters Branch!
Your tale can be funny, sad, heartwarming, jaw-dropping – they want to read them all! And it can focus on anything… Memories of particular matches – were you at the first ever game against Ajax? (Or the last ever match at Roker Park?!) Do you have a story around seeing a concert at the SoL? Were you a builder involved in the construction of the stadium? Did you have your wedding reception there? Whatever your tale, they want to read it!
Email your ‘Tale of the SoL’ to Cranked Anvil at: SAFCtales@gmail.com
They will also be publishing a book to accompany the play. All the stories featured in the production – plus many more that they receive – will feature in the book, so you also have a chance to have your story published as part of the collection. Go to www.crankedanvil.co.uk/safc for more info.
Actor and director Paul Dunn is producing the show, and will also direct. "Doing I Left My Heart In Roker Park three years ago was an amazing experience,” Paul said. “It was so popular we ended up having to double the amount of shows we performed, and were even asked back to the Customs House in South Shields the following month to do another by popular demand!"
“The audiences were phenomenal, and the Sunderland fans who came – many of which had never been to the theatre before – were some of the best I’ve ever had in any show. It’s no wonder we’ve got the best supporters in the land! I can’t wait to do this new show!”
The other piece in the show, Cornered, is written by the BBC’s Jeff Brown. It tells the story of Dave Corner, and the fateful day in 1985 when the 18-year-old stepped out onto the hallowed turf at Wembley to play for his beloved Sunderland in the Milk Cup against Norwich – and ended up being the most hated man in Sunderland for his error on the pitch which gave Norwich the goal and cost us the cup.
The double-bill of plays are on in venues around the region in September, including upstairs in the newly opened Peacock pub (formerly The Londonderry). “We couldn’t get a venue in Sunderland itself for I Left My Heart…,” Paul commented, “so I’m over the moon that we’re playing in Sunderland with this show – and in the heart of the new cultural quarter as well, which should be fantastic.
You can find more information on the shows at the company’s website, www.crankedanvil.co.uk, where you will also find links to buy tickets at the various venues.