NEWS: Wor Bella @ Various Venues | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Lauren Waine

Football is heavily rooted in the culture of the North. If you don’t believe it, just walk past The Strawberry on match day. However, a name that many fans of NUFC will not know is Bella Reay. A factory worker during the first World War, Bella raised money for charity on the side by playing football alongside other munitionettes for the Blyth Spartans.

The Alan Shearer of her day, Bella scored a whopping 133 goals in just 30 matches across the nation against other heroes on the home turf. Her story had largely been lost to time, but thanks to playwright and producer Ed Waugh it’ll be brought to life in the play Wor Bella, which tours the region this month.

Ed Waugh has a great track record in uncovering stories of local heroes, having brought tales about world champion boxer Glenn McCrory (in Carrying David) and rowing miner Harry Clasper (aka Hadaway Harry) to the fore in recent years. Wor Bella will be directed by Russell Floyd, best known for directing The Great Joe Wilson – another of Waugh’s productions about the so-called ‘bard of Tyneside’ – and will star Sunderland’s own Lauren Waine as Bella, best known for her contributions to Northern Stage’s War of the Worlds and Sage Gateshead’s The Great Geordie Songbook.

Wor Bella is performed at Phoenix Theatre, Blyth on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th; Queen’s Hall Arts, Hexham on Monday 28th; Newcastle Theatre Royal Studio on Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th; Alnwick Playhouse on Thursday 31st March; Playhouse Whitley Bay

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