Play brings theatre to rugby fans and working men's clubs

14 May 2019 01:49 PM

Fly Half, funded with almost £27,000 of Arts Council National Lottery money is a one-man play, telling a human story of love, loss, industry, community – and sport.

The project, a labour of love for creator Gary Lagden, not only brings the experience of live theatre to people who feel that theatre isn’t for them, but it also encourages audiences to share their own memories and stories connected with being a rugby fan and spectator.

Fly Half - image by Ian Dearman Media

The play, which explores the role of sport and community, began as a partnership between Mansfield Old Library Theatre and Ashfield Ladies RFC in Nottinghamshire, England, along with Aberavon Rugby Club in Port Talbot, South Wales. The initial ideas were shared at workshops in Working Men’s Clubs, Rugby Clubs and pub theatres, with the play developing as stories and feedback were gathered. As stories emerged, cementing the connection between sport, theatre and working people, the resulting piece of original theatre was then toured venues including Mansfield Old Library, Mansfield and Macclesfield Rugby Clubs, and Leicester pub theatre, Upstairs at The Western.

Upstairs at The Western is well known for producing great work, but the local rugby club supporters tend remain downstairs in the bar and largely ignore the programme of theatre upstairs. That’s where Fly Half came in.

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