A play inspired by Everton Football Club’s rich history – including the achievements of Birkenhead-born Club legend Dixie Dean – will visit Wirral for the first time this month.
The Grand Old Lady comes to The Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight, on Wednesday 18 May (7:30pm), and will immerse the audience in the extraordinary history of Everton Football Club, its Goodison Park home and some of the region’s most famous football and non-footballing characters, including Dixie Dean.
The story of The Grand Old Lady begins to unfold when two Evertonians barricade themselves inside the famous Everton Lock-Up (the ‘tower’ that features on the Club’s crest), hoping to find the lost gold of ‘Prince Rupert’.
Inside the Tower, they stumble across a secret tunnel and unwittingly release the ghosts of Everton’s past… Dixie Dean, Molly Bushell, Prince Rupert, Maggie Magee and Bessie Braddock.
Each spirit will take the audience on a historical journey where they discover the true meaning of being an Evertonian and the rich history that lies inside the heart of Everton’s badge.
The play will run at the Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight on Wednesday 18 May, with other venues including Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre (20 May),
Born in Laird Street, Birkenhead, Dixie Dean began his career at Tranmere Rovers before moving on to Everton, where he became undeniably the greatest goalscorer of his generation. Arguably the greatest marksman of all time, Dixie Dean holds a record which is unlikely ever to be beaten – 60 league goals in one single season.
He achieved that feat in the 1927/28 campaign and in 1933 became the first man to wear the iconic number nine shirt, in that year’s FA Cup final. He passed away at Goodison Park during a Merseyside derby in 1980. A statue of Dixie Dean stands proudly outside the gates of Goodison Park and is a place for reflection for Everton fans around the world.
Written by Kenny O’Connell and directed by Carl Cockram, this production of the play will also feature Michael ‘Speedo Mick’ Cullen, whose charity walks, wearing just his Speedos, have gained international attention. Mick will join the fans’ chorus who sing at key points throughout the play.
Writer Kenny O’Connell said: “It is a privilege to be able to bring The Grand Old Lady to Wirral for the first time, and to celebrate Birkenhead’s own Dixie Dean, who played such a significant part in Everton’s history. We hope that Wirral audiences will enjoy seeing the story of this legend brought to life on stage, telling his fascinating story.
“And for those who have seen the play before, there is also a chance to enjoy it in a new way, as we welcome Speedo Mick as a member of the fan chorus. Mick is a well-known face on matchdays, and his inspiring charity walks across the country have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds. He is a real character, an embodiment of the Everton spirit, and will bring a new dimension to the play.”
All adult tickets are priced below £20 across venues.
Theatre Royal: Monday 16 May, 7:30pm
The Brindley: Tuesday 17 May, 7.30pm
Gladstone Theatre: Wednesday 18 May, 7:30pm
The Atkinson: Thursday 19 May, 7.30pm
Epstein Theatre: Friday 20 May Matinee 2.30pm, Evening 7.30pm
The Atkinson: Wednesday 25 May 7.30pm
The song ‘The Grand Old Lady’ has also been realised on iTunes and Spotify to help support the show.
To download it, click here or visit ditto.fm/grand-old-lady