Autumn 2024 North of England tour of Love It If We Beat Them Announced

Autumn 2024 North of England tour of Love It If We Beat Them Announced

Emmerson & Ward Productions in association with Live Theatre present
Love It If We Beat Them
Written by Rob Ward
Directed by Bex Bowsher

Touring the North of England: Tuesday 10 September to Sunday 10 November 2024

Following its sensational run at Live Theatre as part of its 50th birthday celebrations, Love It If We Beat Them by Rob Ward (Gypsy Queen), directed by Bex Bowsher, is back.

Presented by Emmerson & Ward Productions, in association with Live Theatre, this critically acclaimed drama about football, politics, and the Labour of love will tour sixteen theatres and community spaces across the North of England from Tuesday 10 September until Sunday 10 November 2024.

Set against the backdrop of the infamous 1995/96 Premiere League season, when Newcastle almost won under Kevin Keegan and Tony Blair’s New Labour was set for victory, the play is a story of love, loss and the power of community.

As writer Rob Ward explains:
“At its heart, Love It If We Beat Them examines the impact of tribalism on our identity, both in terms of politics and football. It is an exploration of the political landscape of the North and how it has evolved over the decades, a look at the internal battles that have ravaged the Labour Party since its inception and a study of family and loss. It also captures the spirit of one of the Premier League’s greatest-ever seasons.

“In a General Election year, there is no better time to take this production on the road. We can’t wait to share this universal story with audiences in towns and cities across the North of England, where football is a way of life.”

David Nellist will reprise his role as Len, an ex-miner and local Labour activist whose political rise could only be outshone by his beloved NUFC winning the league. Jessica Johnson will return to play Jean, the passionate charity worker and wife of Len, who has turned her pain into action. Eve Tucker will revisit Victoria, the Labour Party’s newest star and contender for the newly available North East seat. Daniel Watson will join these original cast members as Michael, a down-on-his-luck miner struggling to find work or hope in the rapidly changing world around him.

This urgent and gripping drama, which perfectly captures a moment in recent history, will appeal to football fans and those with a political persuasion. The tour will kick off with a three-week run at Newcastle’s Live Theatre followed by fixtures at the National Museum of Football in Manchester, Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescott, Blackpool Grand, and nine rural venues across Northumberland, County Durham and Cumbria via the Highlights Rural Touring scheme. Further tour dates will be announced soon.

Jack McNamara, Artistic Director at Live Theatre, said:
“Initially developed through Live Theatre’s artist development programme, Love It If We Beat Them ended up being one of our most popular shows of recent years. It’s great that Emmerson & Ward Productions will launch it with us before a national tour. Rob’s astute political play could not come at a more pertinent time. It will get audiences talking.”

Accompanying the play will be an exhibition curated by Emmerson & Ward Productions featuring shirts and memorabilia from the era that will allow audiences to step back in time and relive British football and politics in the 90s. A version of the exhibition will also be available to explore online throughout the tour.

Ticket holders will also have the chance to enjoy post-show chats with the cast and members of the creative team and discuss all things football, politics and writing in a series of panel discussions and talks – further details to be announced soon.

Tickets for Love It If We Beat Them, a must-see for all football fans and those who remember the politically exciting days of 1996, are now on sale at Live Theatre.

Love It If We Beat Them has been made possible using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

To find out more and to book tickets, visit

Emmerson and Ward Productions in association with Live Theatre present
Love It If We Beat Them
Written by Rob Ward
Directed by Bex Bowsher
Design by Alison Ashton
Sound design by Matthew Tuckey
Lighting design by Anna Reddyhoff

Football, politics and the Labour of love. A winning new play about how things can only
get better.

It’s Spring 1996, Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United are riding high in the Premier League
and Tony Blair’s New Labour are gathering pace. Hope is in the air and victory seems
within reach. Len, a long-term hard-left activist, has decided to run as a candidate for
local Labour MP, but the arrival of Victoria from Manchester as New Labour’s front-runner
throws a spanner in the works. With loyalties tested and tensions reaching fever pitch, the
winning team will be decided in an explosive head-to-head challenge.
Set against the backdrop of the infamous Premier League season when Newcastle United
almost won under the management of Kevin Keegan, Love It If We Beat Them explores
the age-old political questions: What is power without principle? And what are principles
without power?

Love It If We Beat Them is a new political drama that explores a time of significant change
in the identity of the North East communities and perfectly captures a moment in recent
history that defines who we are today. Contains strong language and themes of child loss,
recommended age 14+.
“Rob Ward’s play is by turns personal and political, local and universal, set in a
recognisable past yet relevant today.” The Stage ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Duration: Approx. 2 hrs 5 mins
Suitability: Contains strong language and themes of child loss. Recommended age 14+.
Tour Dates:
Tues 10 Sept to Sat 28 Sept 2024 – Live Theatre (Press Night, Thurs 12 Sept)
Fri 4 & Sat 5 Oct – National Football Museum
Tues 15 & Wed 16 Oct – Highlights Rural Touring Venues
Fri 25 & Sat 26 Oct – Shakespeare North Playhouse
Thurs 31 Oct to Sun 3 Nov – Highlights Rural Touring Venues
Tues 5 & Wed 6 Nov – Blackpool Grand
Fri 8 to Sun 10 Nov – Highlights Rural Touring Venues

More tour dates to be announced soon.

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