Carrying David: Story of North East boxer Glenn McCrory and his terminally ill brother to be told on stage as theatre performances return

Micky Cochrane as Glenn McCroryMicky Cochrane as Glenn McCrory
Micky Cochrane as Glenn McCrory
The amazing story of boxer Glenn McCrory and his terminally ill brother David – as penned by a South Shields playwright – is being brought to life on-stage as theatre performances return.

McCrory, from Anfield Plain in County Durham, is a former British professional boxer who held the IBF cruiserweight title from 1989 to 1990, and the British and Commonwealth cruiserweight title between 1987 and 1988.

He later when on to become a TV sports pundit.

Carrying David, written by South Shields playwright Ed Waugh, charts the boxer’s background and career, and his relationship with his brother David, who suffered from the degenerative muscle wasting disease called Friedreich's ataxia.

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Glenn McCrory celebratingGlenn McCrory celebrating
Glenn McCrory celebrating

The play, which had an initial run in the North East and Northern Ireland, was scheduled to appear at Newcastle Theatre Royal in April 2020 in what would have been the fastest-ever transfer to the region's premier theatre, but the show was cancelled as the covid pandemic took hold.

Now it is coming back to the stage in September 2021 on a UK tour, including a number of dates in the North East.

Micky Cochrane, who starred in the play on its initial run and won rave reviews and glowing accolades, is producing the tour and said can't he wait to get back on stage.

"Although the Theatre Royal dates could not be rescheduled, we are really excited about this show and the excitement it creates,” he said.

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Micky Cochrane and Glenn McCroryMicky Cochrane and Glenn McCrory
Micky Cochrane and Glenn McCrory

“Inspired by the love and spirit of his brother, boxer Glenn fought back against all odds to bid to become the first fighter from the North-East to become a world champion. It's an incredible story."

The play is adapted from the autobiography of the same name by Waugh and directed by Russell Floyd, the team behind the hugely successful Hadaway Harry and The Great Joe Wilson.

Waugh has a strong track record of bringing North East heroes’ stories to the stage, with West Auckland’s World Cup-winning team, legendary rower Harry Clasper (as featured in Hadaway Harry), and Northumberland shipwreck rescuer Grace Darling among those whose stories he has told.

On Carrying David, Micky said: "The show received an amazing reaction during its first North East run and transferred to Northern Ireland where every audience gave us a standing ovation, including at the prestigious Belfast’s Lyric Theatre.

"It was an awesome sight.

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“The play seems to resonate and inspire the whole audience. I believe Carrying David can go anywhere and be a success as it has universal themes which the audience engages with.

"There is obviously a boxing element to it but you don’t have to be a fan of boxing to enjoy this.

"As Glenn said to me when the pandemic stopped us in our tracks, it’s an inspirational story and people want and need these stories in such difficult times. I believe in it and I want to take it far and wide, and hopefully will do.”

Venues in the region include, Blyth Phoenix, Queen’s Hall Hexham, Gala Theatre Durham, Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Alnwick Playhouse and The Witham, Barnard Castle.