New Sunderland AFC play tells the story of two fans who meet on Wearmouth Bridge every match day
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Ben Gettins has spent months writing his play called Wearmouth. It will be performed at The Customs House in South Shields from Monday, September 4 to Wednesday, September 6.
Ben, 23, completed a BTEC in drama at Sunderland College before going on to complete a prestigious acting course at The Theatre Royal. His acting credits include his critically acclaimed one-man show Sugar Baby.
There they navigate their way through their own mental health struggles, the ever-changing world around them and the trials and tribulations of supporting Sunderland.
Ben submitted a few pages and a synopsis of the play to The Customs House’s PLAY2, an initiative to support new writers. Through this, Ben and fellow writer Louise Powell were winners of the Peter Latham Prize for New Writing, which gave them the support they needed.
Once Ben had finished a first draft The Customs House asked renowned playwright and poet Tom Kelly to mentor him.
To help give Wearmouth an authentic voice, Ben met a group of older Sunderland fans at The Customs House who gave him another supply of SAFC-related stories.
Ben said: “Since completing my training I’ve had a couple of great roles and I’ve also worked on the Creative Learning programme at the Sunderland Empire. It was while I was working at the Empire that I came up with the idea of Wearmouth and started writing the play.
“I wanted to mix the two worlds of football and theatre, both of which mean a lot to me. Wearmouth features two characters that I think people will recognise and relate to. They’re an amalgam of characters I know or have met.
“Wearmouth also features stories and anecdotes I’ve heard and been told. My dad told me so many great stories.
“About 60% of the stories told in Wearmouth are based on stories I’ve been told. The Customs House meeting I had also hugely helped with my dialogue for the play.”
For more information, or to book tickets from £10, go to www.thecustomshouse.co.uk.