Monday 23rd February 2015
The Grand Hotel, Tynemouth
In 1932, Laurel and Hardy toured the UK, and one of the places they came to was The Grand Hotel in Tynemouth. Stan Laurel had been brought up in the area from around the ages of 5 to 15, and he was keen to come ‘back home’.
Cloud Nine Theatre Company are planning to produce a play, called ‘Laurel and Hardy In Tynemouth’ in the Autumn of 2015, and today – at a special celebration of Laurel – we performed a 25 minute script-in-hand rehearsed reading of the work in progress. Here’s what Cloud Nine say about the play, on their own website:
We hope to stage the premiere of Laurel & Hardy in Tynemouth in Autumn 2015. This is the final uncompleted play of the late, great Tom Hadaway and 2015 sees the tenth anniversary of his death.
Tom was born in North Shields, lived in Whitley Bay and is generally acknowledged as the best North East dramatist of his generation with a whole string of successful stage and TV plays often based around the fishing community of Shields. Hadaway’s was one of the best-known wet fish shops in North Shields. Many of his plays were premiered by Live Theatre, Newcastle.
We have asked Tom’s daughter, Pauline Hadaway, if she would rejig and complete her father’s dramatic work. Pauline is an acknowledged playwright, both in collaboration with her father and in her own right. The play will be credited as co-written.
The rehearsed reading went extremely well, with the following cast:
Stan Laurel Paul Dunn
Oliver Hardy Harry Gallagher
Skivington Peter Mortimer
Betty Zoe Hakin
Audrey Pauline Hadaway
It was directed by the brilliant Teddy Kiendl (former artistic director of Newcastle’s Live Theatre) who is also down to direct the full play in the Autumn.
The job itself was a great thrill, but you can imagine my excitement when, half way through the day, we found out that when Stan and Ollie had stayed at the hotel, Stan had actually left his hat with them. A few minutes later the manager brought it back for us to have a look at, and I was allowed to try it on – just for a short time!
This is me WEARING STAN LAUREL’S ACTUAL HAT!!!
The rehearsed reading was part of a whole evening which celebrated Stan Laurel – being the 50th anniversary of his death. It also included a very informative talk by local lad Danny Lawrence, author of a very informative biography on Stan and his years living in and around Tynemouth.
The evening ended with a showing of two of Laurel and Hardy’s best known short films: Towed In The Hole, and the Oscar-winning The Music Box. The event was attended by Stan’s great great (and great great great) niece, and I was chuffed to meet them afterwards.