Extra date for sell-out football play charting Sunderland’s fortunes

Actor Paul Dunn, rehearsing for playwright Tom Kelly's play, I Left My Heart At Roker Park

Actor Paul Dunn, rehearsing for playwright Tom Kelly's play, I Left My Heart At Roker Park

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EXTRA time is being played in a drama about the trials and tribulations of being a football fan.

I Left My Heart in Roker Park is a one-man show about a Black Cat fan looking back at Sunderland’s fortunes – and his own life.

Starring lifelong fan Paul Dunn, the play opens at the Customs House, in South Shields, today.

Three of the shows at the venue have already sold out, and an extra date on Monday is already selling well.

Another performance at Washington Arts Centre has also sold out, while extra dates have been added at the Gala Theatre, Durham.

Paul, 39, who lives in South Shields, said: “The response has been fantastic - it has completely exceeded our expectations. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us, in particular the Customs House.

“It really seems to have caught the imagination and grown and grown. It’s a bit daunting, but mostly very exciting. It’s proven to be so popular and there’s a nice buzz about it. I think it’s partly due to the interesting season Sunderland had last year - that was a drama in itself!”

Written by Jarrow-born playwright Tom Kelly, who is also directing the play, the drama explores the life of Kevin Halliday, against the backdrop of the demolition of Sunderland’s old Roker Park ground and the club’s move to the Stadium of Light in 1997.

We hear about Kevin’s thoughts about controversial Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio, last year’s League Cup Final and the team’s relegation battle.

But the play is also a personal drama and love story.

Tom Kelly said he is “delighted” with the response to what is the second revival of a play first staged more than a dozen years ago.

He said: “At the Gala, Durham, we have gone from one show to four and three have sold out. And the fourth date, on Tuesday, is selling well.

“Washington Arts Centre has also sold out.

“The Customs House now has five shows. Three have sold out and the fifth date on Monday is selling fast.”

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