The life and times of boxing’s first female promoter on stage

Bella: Queen of the Blackfriars Ring

Bella: Queen of the Blackfriars Ring

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The story of the world’s first female boxing promoter will be hitting the stage in two north Northumberland villages later this month.

Highlights Touring Scheme continues its spring 2014 season in Whittingham and Craster with this fast-paced, one-woman show about the extraordinary life of Bella Burge.

The year is 1940 and the boxing venue Blackfriars Ring has been destroyed during the Blitz. Having ‘forgotten’ to renew her lease, boxing promoter Bella Burge has lost everything. As she sifts through the dirt and ruin she begins to remember and replay moments of her incredible life and career.

From humble beginnings, touring music halls and theatres as music-hall queen Marie Lloyd’s dresser and confidante, to being catapulted into the limelight in boxing’s seedy underbelly as the world’s first female boxing promoter, Bella emerges from historical obscurity to redress the balance, sing a couple of songs and throw a few punches.

Written and performed by Denise Kennedy with live music from Andrew Frizell, Bella is a remarkable tale about a remarkable woman – moving, funny and bursting with music, music-hall acts, songs, dance and a bit of boxing.

Geoff Hoskin, promoter at Whittingham Memorial Institute said: “We are very much looking forward to this latest show from Highlights.

“There will be a bar run by the Whittingham Scout Group leaders so enjoy the entertainment and a drink too. Professional performances on our doorstep; we deserve it!”

The show appears at Craster Memorial Hall at 7pm on Saturday, February 22. Tickets, £7.50, £6.50 conc, £4 children, £18 family, on 01665 576226.

The following night, Bella will be staged at Whittingham Memorial Hall at 7.30pm. Tickets, £8, £7 conc, £4 
children, £18 family, on 01665 574964.