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Page last updated at 14:31 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010
Corus - Past, Present and Future

Steve Thompson
Steve Thompson co-wrote Steel Town with Tom Kelly

The North East artists who wrote the musical Steel Town say Teesside's Corus crisis is North East history repeating itself.

The show is based on the closure of Consett's steelworks in 1980.

And its writers, Steve Thompson and Tom Kelly, say the musical could be revived to pay tribute to the workers at Corus's Teesside Cast Products.

Steve, from Stockton, told BBC Tees' Richard Edwards: "I think it could work well in Teesside."

It could work well on Teesside, with what's happening at Corus
Steve Thompson

Steve grew up in Consett and served an apprenticeship at the steelworks during the 1960s.

But he said: "I always wanted to be a rock star and served a second apprenticeship playing gigs at night.

"The music came before the steelworks, and eventually off I went."


During his career Steve has written for Sheena Easton, Elkie Brookes and Celine Dion. He also scored a big hit with Wavelength's Hurry Home, during the 1982 Falklands War.

The musical was born when the co-writers, who taught together at South Tyneside College, spoke about Steve's time as a young man at the steelworks explains Tom:

"He told me about his dream of escaping and becoming a rock star. That idea became the main theme and we used it to look at the conflict between the generations.

"The main character just wanted to get away while his dad was wanting to fight, to protect a century's industrial history."

What happened up there isn't something to celebrate, but it has to be remembered
Steve Thompson

Twenty years after Consett's steelworks closed, the town hosted its first performances of Steel Town recalls Steve:

"The petrol crisis was on so I was staying at my parents' house.

"It was like getting up for the steelworks every morning. I remember there was a lot of emotion, mixed emotions.

"What happened up there isn't something to celebrate, but it has to be remembered."


Tom, a poet and playwright, said he'd be interested in speaking to local theatre groups who could put the show on in Teesside:

"That's the way it would have to be done," he said.

"I think it would work, with what's happening at Corus.

"Look at the North East's history, there was Jarrow in 1936, Consett in 1980 and now it looks like Teesside in 2010.

"Obviously there's a lot of pain, and people might say well do we want to know about that, to go over it again.

"But it's our history and it's so important that we remember it. If we forget our past, we forget who we are."


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