19 March 2022
By Göran R Buckhorn
Recently, I wrote that Ed Waugh’s play Hadaway Harry about boatbuilder and professional oarsman Harry Clasper was going on a new tour with Jamie Brown as Harry Clasper.
After the success with the first round of Hadaway Harry, Waugh was busy with his pen and in the beginning of 2020, he came out with a new play, Carrying David about the boxer Glenn McCrory and his terminally ill brother, David. Carrying David was also a huge success when it was played in the North East in England and in Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, the performances of Carrying David were cancelled both in Newcastle and London due to the pandemic later in 2020.
Then in 2021, Waugh published a book, Geordie Plays, which includes the three plays Hadaway Harry, The Great Joe Wilson and Carrying David (Joe Wilson being the “bard of Tyneside”).
Ed Waugh now has a new must-see play coming to the stage at the end of March and April. This play, Wor Bella, is another play which is dealing with a sport – women’s football!
During the First World War, when the men were conscripted, women came into the workplaces to save the War effort. The heroic so-called Munitionettes worked a 60-hour week in the factories.
It is a little-known fact that at the end of the War more than one million women were working in factories in England – of which 700,000 were employed in the munitions industry. Eighty per cent of all weapons were produced by these working-class women.
“In 1917, football matches started to be organized for a bit of fun and to give people entertainment. Matches were played on Tyneside at Westoe while Palmers of Jarrow had a crack women’s football team based on the shipyards there,” Ed Waugh told media.
Waugh’s Wor Bella is the story of Munitionettes, who not only selflessly served during the War but also played football to raise money for charity. Hundreds of Munitionette teams were formed nationally, including dozens in the North East. Tens of thousands of people attended the matches and female football stars were born, including Blyth Spartan’s Ladies’ Bella Reay, also known as “Wor Bella”. In 30 matches, she scored an incredibly 133 goals.
Wor Bella is directed by Russell Floyd, who also directed Hadaway Harry. Wor Bella is played by Lauren Waine. Here is a Wor Bella promotional video: