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July 14, 2013

YellowBrix

POP star Sting has been talking about his forthcoming musical and album based on the industrial past of the North.

The former Police frontman will release the album The Last Ship in September, made up of songs about the shipbuilding industry in his native Wallsend, North Tyneside, which will then make up a musical set to open on Broadway next year. He is also planning a series of benefit gigs in New York to discuss the creative process behind his music.

He said: "I was born and raised in Wallsend. It was a surreal environment to be brought up in.

"At the time I took it for granted. It's only in retrospect that I look back and think 'Wow'.

"It was a tough life these men led. A lot of them hated the yards, but they were fiercely proud of the ships they built and the work they did with their hands - they could see this thing.

"And that memory of the ship at the end of the street is emblazoned on my memory bank.

"Then I began to think 'I wonder if there's a story we could tell'. And as soon as I began to think about other people, for other voices and for viewpoints other than my own, the stuff began to flow."

Inspired by Sting's early years growing up near the Swan Hunter shipyard, The Lost Ship had a run-through at Live Theatre on Newcastle's Quayside in February 2012.

An invited audience included former shipyard workers who loudly applauded the cast and Sting's music when it was performed by a folk ensemble.

Sting took the project to producer Jeffrey Seller, whose hit musical Rent won a Pulitzer Prize.

He was attracted by the play's themes of family relationships, community and the passage of time.

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