Steel and Iron
By Victoria Gibson
Thursday 16 May 2019 09:23:00
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I recently read about a preview for a musical project at Arc called Iron and Steel. Produced by Steve Gibson's daughter, Victoria, those involved included Cattle and Cane, Alistair Griffin and playwright, Ishy Din. I had to find out more, so I sent a tweet to Victoria and here is the reply.

A few constant things have always inspired me when I look at my home town, both positive and negative – but that’s healthy, I think. The water, the heritage, and the possibilities. The coverage in the national press and media has always been negative toward us, and any one from Boro knows of those negatives, especially the ones that stand out as facts. Unemployment, teenage pregnancy, industrial cancer, homelessness – according to the press, the list is endless. But I have always thought that it’s not the negatives that define a place, or a person, it is what they do after being faced with those negatives, and their responding actions that does. And that is what got me thinking. That notion inspires me. We fight, we grow and we continue.

I come from a working class background and family, and I now stand in a very privileged place. I speak here of what inspires me, and I’m not afraid to say it’s My Dad. He, like most from Boro, has worked to provide, but not just for me, for the many. He too has a history, as do the Gibson clan, and where we all came from. And that also got me thinking. Where do we come from, who brought us here and when faced with their negatives, why did they stay and how did they continue?

My profession and passion is Theatre, (with a little side of insatiable love for History) and I believe that theatre (and in this case, paired with music) can be one of the most powerful vehicles when trying to voice opinion or to gain understanding. So when you pair my two “loves” together – it’s a clear indication of what I want to do, especially when no one has done it before.

With these things in mind, I set about reaching out to those who I know and trust – after all, I saw (and still see) this as potentially the biggest thing I had thought about doing, so I need the good guys on my side. I now have a stellar team working with me; the likes of Helen and Joe Hammill, also known as Cattle and Cane, Alistair Griffin, Ishy Din, Paul Smith from Maximo Park and many more who have supported this project of mine from conception. I can’t put into words what it feels like to not only work with these people, but for us all to believe in what we are doing so whole heartedly.

On the 1st of March 2019, we were at a place where we were able to show what we had done so far. ARC in Stockton were kind enough to house us for the evening and we gave a “preview” of our story and our music to a very small and exclusive audience. I’m elated to say it was a huge success and after our very small showing, we received a standing ovation. It warmed my heart in so many ways, but more importantly, reaffirmed the idea that our people want to see this type of work.

Currently, this is still a work in progress, whilst I continue to work alongside my team to grow the production until its “complete”. I am not sure when that “complete” will be, however, please know that we are all working toward something that is not done quickly, but something that is done correctly.



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