The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich has begun performances of the world premiere production of Never Lost at Home, which tells the story of the 1980/81 UEFA football season and celebrates the 40th anniversary of Ipswich Town F.C.’s UEFA cup victory that year.
Written and directed by New Wolsey Theatre Artistic Director Peter Rowe, Never Lost At Home acts as a follow-up to Rowe’s previous production on the football club Our Blue Heaven, which had a sell-out run at the New Wolsey in 2018.
The production recounts fans’ real stories of following Ipswich Town throughout the 1980/81 campaign through the fictional Ipswich family, the Coombes, as they try to find ways of following the Super Blues all over Europe – the difficulties they have to negotiate, the comical scrapes they get into, and the fantastic moments of togetherness and celebration that they experience in Paris after the St Etienne Game, in Amsterdam after the final victory and back on the Cornhill as the team bring the cup home for the victory parade.
Never Lost at Home features a catalogue of 1980s hits smash-hit songs from punk rock and disco to New Romantics and classic rock including Eye of the Tiger, Cold as Ice, I Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down, Love Will Tear Us Apart and Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.
Peter Peverley (Once the Musical) returns to the New Wolsey Theatre to play the role of legendary Ipswich Town F.C. manager Sir Bobby Robson, which he previously played in Our Blue Heaven, with BBC Radio Suffolk presenter Mark Murphy voicing the match commentaries for the recreations of the iconic 1980/81 matches.
Alongside Peverley and Murphy, the full actor-musician cast are: Dan Bottomley (Once the Musical) as Arnold Muhren, Joe Butcher (Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story) as Scott, Daniel Carter-Hope (Made in Dagenham) as Jacek Machinski, Richard Costello (Guys and Dolls) as Paul, Josie Dunn (One Man, Two Guvnors) as Mel, Olivia Foster-Browne (The Book of Mormon) as Ange, Keanu Johnson as Smudger, Adam Langstaff (Miss Nightingale) as Kostas, Steve Simmonds (Tommy) as Nicos/Han and Sarah Whittuck (Our Blue Heaven) as Sheila with Anna Kitching and Abbie Griggs, from the New Wolsey’s Youth Theatre, sharing the role of Sue.
The production will also feature a community chorus of young people who will re-enact the iconic Ipswich Town F.C. matches of the 1980/1981 season.
Peter Rowe said of the production, “The source material for the show has been stories sent in by fans who followed the team throughout the 80/81 campaign – and particularly the stories of travelling to away games in Europe. Against a background of the early 1980’s – de-industrialisation, catastrophic unemployment and social unrest – we see our families, looking out for each other, sticking together and relishing the opportunity for excitement, escape and adventure that football provides. For this fictitious family, like many real ones, football provides the emotional highs and lows which go down in family folklore, the memories that are told, embellished and re-told until they turn from memory into something like myth. I hope we capture some of this in the show – looking back on those golden moments – Where were you when Ipswich won the UEFA Cup?”
Ipswich Town CEO, Mark Ashton said: “I’d like to wish everyone associated with the New Wolsey Theatre’s latest production all the best ahead of their opening night. I know that the ‘Our Blue Heaven’ production was a great success and I’m in no doubt that the latest performance will be popular once again with the local community. The Club has a proud record in European competitions so it is great that this story can be celebrated once again.”
Never Lost at Home runs at the New Wolsey Theatre until 9 October and will welcome both in-person and livestream audiences to every performance, to allow those who are shielding or not yet confident to return to the theatre the ability to access the production. Captioning, British Sign Language, Audio Description and Relaxed Performances will also be available for both in-person and livestream options.
Auditorium Tickets (From £10) can be purchased at: www.wolseytheatre.co.uk/shows/never-lost-at-home
Livestream Tickets (£20) can be purchased at: www.wolseytheatre.co.uk/shows/never-lost-at-home-livestream