Roughhouse Theatre, in association with Live Wire Theatre and the Professional Cricketer’s Association present…
When The Eye Has Gone
By Dougie Blaxland
Roughhouse Theatre, in association with Live Wire Theatre and The Professional Cricketers Association are thrilled to announce that Dan Gaisford has been cast in the central role of cricketing legend Colin Milburn.
Dan’s most recent credit was the critically acclaimed revival of Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park: “touring theatre at its best.” (The Stage)
Director Shane Morgan praised Gaisford’s theatrical athleticism, “In casting this one man show, it was important to me not to go down the route of producing a theatrical tribute act.”
Morgan goes on to explain, “In researching biopics, I turned to films Love and Mercy and Nowhere Boy. In the case of the former, John Cusack didn’t look anything like The Beach Boy’s Brian Wilson. What he did beautifully was capture the key elements of Wilson’s personality and energy and that is why the film succeeded. I want to focus on the same things for When The Eye Has Gone with Colin Milburn.”
“Whilst Milburn looked as far from being an athlete as possible, when he stepped on the field, he came alive and was light on his feet, agile and could run rings around most of the players. We needed an actor who could transform, convey this form of agility and be able to switch between multiple characters at the flick of a switch. Having worked with Dan before and putting him through his paces at the audition, the creative team were unanimous about his ability to take on board this larger than life character.”
Rehearsals start at the beginning of October and the show tours around the UK throughout October and November 2016.
Set in the bar of The North Briton pub in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, When The Eye Has Gone tells the all too brief life of Colin ‘Ollie’ Milburn – the cricketing legend who was one of England’s most unlikely sporting heroes.
The action takes place on the 28th February 1990 during Milburn’s cabaret performance as “Jolly Ollie”, the character he had developed that concealed his insecurities and suffering.
With songs, anecdotes and a large gin and coke, the story swings backwards and forwards through Milburn’s life as he raises a glass to his triumphs, including his first Test Century against the West Indies at Lords in 1966 and his disasters, like losing his left eye in a car accident in 1969.
Background Information to When The Eye Has Gone:
(The PCA’s 2016 Initiative to Promote Health and Well-Being)
When The Eye Has Gone, by former Kent and Derbyshire cricketer-turned-playwright James Graham-Brown (writing under the pen name Dougie Blaxland), is a one-man show that dramatises the all-too-short life of Colin Milburn, the former England and Northants player. Having just established himself as England’s most exciting attacking batsman his glittering playing career came to an abrupt end when he lost an eye in a car accident. Aged only 27 and utterly unprepared for life after cricket he drifted into chronic alcoholism and died just 19 years later in the obscurity of a pub car park.
Never has the mental health and well-being of our first-class cricketers been higher on the agenda, and it is for this reason that The Professional Cricketers’ Association has joined forces with award winning theatre companies Live Wire Theatre and Roughhouse Theatre to address one of the central issues that no current or aspiring professional cricketer can afford to ignore.
Whilst the precise circumstances of Colin Milburn’s downfall were unique, his inability to find any meaningful replacement for the intimate cricketing circle that had become his family is all too familiar. The issue of clinical depression amongst international cricketers is now well documented but there are many instances of players of lesser renown who believe that their lives are over with their careers have come to end.
Colin Milburn’s life story is the stuff of great story telling, casting its central character as the most unlikely of heroes: a working class boy, scruffy, disorganised and lazy who rises to stardom as England’s most exciting batsman at a time when the game is in decline. His cricketing crown is usurped by a tragic twist of fate as his life spirals into obscurity.
When The Eye Has Gone is being jointly produced by The Professional Cricketers’ Association, Live Wire Theatre and Roughhouse Theatre.
Live Wire Theatre and Roughhouse Theatre have recently collaborated on the national tour of Hands Up for Jonny Wilkinson’s Right Boot described in The British Theatre Guide as “theatre of the highest quality. It is entertaining, thought-provoking and far transcends the rugby field.”
Meet The Team:
The Writer: Dougie Blaxland
Dougie Blaxland (real name James Graham-Brown) is a former Kent and Derbyshire professional cricketer who now makes his living as a playwright. He has won several awards including the Pomegranate Theatre Best New Play 2004 for Moving in and Taking Over, the Oxford Drama Network 2006 Best New Play for A Degree of Compulsion and The Watermill Theatre Newbury’s Raising New Voices award 2010 for Never Any Fruit.
The Director: Shane Morgan
Shane Morgan is Co-Director of Roughhouse Theatre and Associate Director of the Rondo Theatre Bath. He trained at The Royal Welsh College of Drama and his recent credits include Hands Up for Jonny Wilkinson’s Right Boot (Live Wire/Roughhouse Theatre National Tour), The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Butterfly Psyche South West Tour) and Henry Walker and the Wheel of Death (Roughhouse Theatre) which he adapted for the stage from the Daniel Wallace novel Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician.
Movement Director: Moira Hunt
Moira Hunt trained at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst and trained and performed with Theatre is Moving under Leisa Shelton (Australia). Her credits include Glitz Dies! (Performance Space, Sydney as Director in Residence), The Sneeze (Director, Victoria and Albert Museum, London), The House of Bernarda Alba (Movement Director for Theatre Royal Bath) and Henry Walker and the Wheel of Death (Movement Director, Rondo Theatre, Bath). Moira is Co-Director of Roughhouse Theatre.
Actor: Dan Gaisford
Dan is a stage and screen actor who trained at GSA where he won the MA Prize for Acting in 2015. Most recently he could be seen in Clybourne Park (Mercury Theatre Colchester/UK Tour). His other credits include Dorothy (River Road Theatre), Flat Packed (Brass Works Theatre) and Henry Walker and the Wheel of Death (Rondo Theatre Bath with Roughhouse Theatre).
Thursday 27th October 12.30 pm Northamptonshire CCC Northampton
Friday 28th October 7.30pm Lansdown CC Bath
Saturday 29th October 7.30pm Lansdown CC Bath
Sunday 30th October 7.30pm Dorchester Arts
Tuesday 1st November 7.30pm Somerset CCC Taunton
Wednesday 2nd November 7.30pm Gloucestershire CCC Bristol
Thursday 3rd November 7.30pm Glamorgan CCC Cardiff
Friday 4th November 7.30pm Worcestershire CCC Worcester
Monday 7th November 7.30pm Warwickshire CCC Edgbaston Birmingham
Tuesday 8th November 7.30pm Lancashire CCC Old Trafford Manchester
Wednesday 9th November 7.30pm Derbyshire CCC Derby
Thursday 10th November 7.30pm Yorkshire CCC Headingley Leeds
Friday 11th November 7.30pm Durham CCC Chester Le Street
Saturday 12th November 7.30pm Burnopfield CC Durham
Monday 14th November 7.30pm Essex CCC Chelmsford
Tuesday 15th November 7.30pm Kent CCC Canterbury
Wednesday 16th November 7.30pm Sussex CCC Hove
Thursday 17th November 7.30pm Surrey CCC The Oval London
Friday 18th November 7.30pm Middlesex CCC Lords London
Saturday 19th November 7.30pm Teddington CC Teddington
Monday 21st November 7.30pm Hampshire CCC Southampton
Tuesday 22nd November 7.30pm Leicestershire CCC Leicester
Wednesday 23rd November 7.30pm Nottinghamshire CCC Nottingham
Thursday 24th November 7.30pm Northamptonshire CCC Northampton
Friday 25th November 7.30pm West Hallam CC Derbyshire