9 Handsome Lads- A Great Night Out

Len Gibson is from Wearside and we’ve been learning about his life in the North East and the impact that playing music has had on it. His story features in our new show ‘A Great Night Out’

Len was a Prisoner of War on the Burma Railway and says that playing music was the key to his survival.

Mercedes Kemp, Associate Director of Community and Research for WildWorks, has used the interview she held with Len to create dialogue for the show. This section of the evening will also feature a specially commissioned song written and performed by Ross Millard of the Futureheads, also from Sunderland.

The entire show will be composed of stories gathered from interviews with local people that have then been transformed and heightened through music, performance and visual material.

Here is just a section of Mercedes’ work before being developed into dialogue…


Nine handsome lads

from Wearside.

Born to  the rattle

Of coaltrucks

The hammering

Of rivets

and the hooting

of tugs.

Nine sweet lads.


Destined to travel

Through the valley

Of death.

One of them has

The gift

Of music

Given to him

By his father

for his 10th


It is

His destiny.



(Image from Len’s personal collection- he is on the back row, 4th from the left)

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