Press Release from Woodhorn Museum.

Over the last few weeks dozens of new songs inspired by the North East heroine Grace Darling have been pouring in to the Woodhorn museum in Northumberland. The songs from writers all over the country were entries into a special competition organised by the museum and archive and linked to the new play Amazing Grace by Tyneside-based writers Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood.

The judges for the competition were comedian Brendan Healy, BBC Look North presenter Jeff Brown and Lindisfarne legend Ray Laidlaw who expressed his surprise at the entries. “I have to say that the general standard of the songs was way above what I was expecting. The project seems to really have caught people's imagination.”

Deliberations are now over and the six winners have just been announced as:

  • Peter Carr (North Shields): The Girl with the Windswept Hair.
  • Stan Graham (Earswick, York): Grace Darling.
  • Chris Kelly (Lanchester, Co. Durham): Grace.
  • John Leslie (Nedderton, Northumberland): Dear Grace.
  • John D Lewis (Langton, Darlington): Tie the Boat Down.
  • John Pagan music and lyrics and John Harper lyrics (Milnthorpe, Cumbria): The Keeper’s Daughter.

The winning songs will be broadcast during the three-week tour of the play about Grace Darling called Amazing Grace, which will begin its ten theatre regional tour on 17 October in Alnwick.

Woodhorn’s Events and Exhibitions Officer Liz Ritson was delighted by the response to the competition. “We received many more entries than we anticipated and in such a wide range of styles. It just goes to show that there is a huge amount of creative talent out there and a competition like this is a great chance for people to share it with the wider community.

“We were amazed at both the number of entries and the high standard of the songs. I’m sure our judges really enjoyed listening to all of them even if it was a really difficult task to select the final six winners. Grace was obviously an inspirational subject.”

The three-week north east tour of Amazing Grace will begin with a world premiere at Alnwick Playhouse on Weds, October 17, as follows:

  • Alnwick Playhouse: 01665 510 785 Weds, October 17; Thurs, October 18 (evening and matinee); Fri, October 19
  • Consett Empire: 01207 218171 Sat, October 20 (evening and matinee)
  • Hexham Queen’s Hall: 01434 652477 Mon, October 22 and Tues, October 23 (evening and matinee)
  • Gala theatre (Durham): 0191 332 4041 Weds, October 24 and Thurs, October 25 (evening and matinee)
  • Hartlepool Theatre: 01429 890 000 Fri, October 26
  • Gateshead Old Town Hall: 0191 433 6965 Sat, October 27
  • Customs House (South Shields): 0191 454 1234 Mon, October 29 and Tues, October 30 (evening and matinee)
  • Blyth Phoenix theatre: 01670 367 228 Weds, October 31
  • Berwick Maltings: 01289 330999 Thurs, November 1 and Fri, November 2 (evening and matinee)
  • Playhouse Whitley Bay: 0844 277 2771 Sat, November 3 (evening and matinee)

For further information visit Amazing Grace is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

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