Carnaby Street brings Swinging Sixties to Sunderland

Carl Leighton-Pope writer and producer of Carnaby Street at the Sunderland Empire.
Carl Leighton-Pope writer and producer of Carnaby Street at the Sunderland Empire.
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A MUSIC agent and booker for the likes of Bryan Adams and Michael Bublé is bringing a flavour of the swinging 60s to Sunderland.

Carl Leighton-Pope has spent the past 16 years juggling organising international bookings for a host of stars with writing his own musical.

Carnaby Street, which plays at the Sunderland Empire next month, is inspired by Carl’s time working around the famous London street in the 60s.

Thanks to his job at the Marquee Club, Carl rubbed shoulders with the likes of The Beatles, Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart.

Carl, who went on to tour with acts including Bonnie Tyler and Van Morrison in the 90s, visited the Empire to let Wearsiders know what they can expect from the new musical.

“This is my first and only musical, it was an extraordinary undertaking and was way bigger than I thought it would be, but it was very satisfying,” he explained.

He added: “I’m not a writer, I don’t have the imagination to write a whole story, so I reached back into my life and created the characters from people I’ve met.

“I was 18 in 1964 working in the Marquee Club mixing with The Who, Moody Blues and Rod Stewart who started their careers there.

“On Saturdays we’d all go to Carnaby Street. Nobody had mobile phones or cameras back then, there wasn’t the celebrity status culture we have now. We were all just guys having a good time.”

The musical is based on the street, its famous clubs, trend-setting fashions and host of hippies and hipsters at a time when the world was changing.

It tells the story of Jude who moves to London from Liverpool to chase his dreams of music.

Music used in the show includes Shout, My Generation, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, Sweets For My Sweet, Roll Over Beethoven, Go Now, Keep On Running, Twist And Shout and more.

Carl said: “It’s a jewel case of fabulous songs. They are songs that are not really specific to an age group, they’re songs that have stood the test of time, they don’t go away.

“I wrote the musical with the line from Petula Clark’s Downtown that goes ‘you can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares. So go downtown.’ The musical is a chance to escape back to a time when there wasn’t a recession, I never knew anyone who couldn’t get a job back then.

“It’s a show that really puts a smile on people’s faces.”

•CARNABY Street is at Sunderland Empire from Monday, November 11, to Saturday, November 16. Tickets priced £10 - £29.50 are available from Tel. 0844 871 3022.

Reader offer

WE’VE teamed up with the Sunderland Empire for a reader offer for Carnaby Street.

Sunderland Echo readers can receive a two-for-one ticket offer when presenting the original copy of this newspaper showing the Carnaby Street Cab photograph to Sunderland Empire Box Office.

The two-for-one ticket offer is valid for performances on Monday, November 11, and Tuesday, November 12, only.

TERMS & CONDITIONS: One full priced ticket needs to be purchased in order to gain one free ticket. The offer cannot be applied to tickets already purchased and cannot be used retrospectively or in conjunction with any other offer or promotion. Tickets are subject to availability.