From where Sting sat on his chair on the top floor of the Maritime Museum he could have looked out and witnessed a dock that was now home to small boat owners and had all the furnishings of renewal, a product of change, of one that was required to save an important link to the city of Liverpool’s past.
Had the popular rock artist and composer of some of the best known songs of the late 20th Century been able to look back across the last couple of hundred years, through the haze of industrial exchange and pride in what a person could achieve with their hands, what a brain could conceive on paper and turn it into a vessel that graced the skyline then he would have revelled in the city’s past even harder, he would have extended even more comments on the link between Liverpool and his own community in Wallsend. It is a link that binds all the port cities and their dock yards tightly, with force, with pride and with passion for the art of ship building.
The former Police front man, actor and celebrated song writer was in Liverpool to launch the musical The Last Ship which is coming to Liverpool’s Playhouse next April. It is a project that is very close to the musician’s heart, the memory as he explained, of seeing men work on the ships in his community with pride and satisfaction, of looking at what they had built for the seas of the world with self-respect.
As Government after Government have systematically destroyed the ship building industry, so the feeling anger has intensified, so the memories of the time when community meant more than just being a by word for politicians to bandy round as if they were evoking a mystical chant. For Sting the musical represents true community, of love, of finding a place in the town you come from even when you have been away for many years.
To an enchanted audience inside the Maritime Museum, Sting performed four of the songs from the forthcoming production, including the title The Last Ship.
This Broadway smash will have changed in style but not in deed by the time it comes to Liverpool as part of its theatrical tour, it is though a production that must be seen, to understand just what once powered the country, community and the sea.
The Last Ship comes to the Playhouse Theatre in April of 2018. Tickets are on sale from the venue’s Box office now.
Ian D. Hall