Arts + Entertainment

Kick It Out Commissions New Laurie Cunningham Play For Black History Month

As part of the 25th anniversary of its foundation to combat racism and discrimination in football, Kick It Out is delighted to announce the commissioning of a new play based on the extraordinary and inspiring life of Laurie Cunningham to coincide with Black History Month UK 2019.

Written by award winning playwright Dougie Blaxland and directed by Roughhouse Theatre Getting the Third Degree will begin a month’s nationwide tour of the UK in October and it will be staged at The Hazlitt Theatre Maidstone on Thursday 31st October.

(Tickets available at 01622 758 611 schedule of dates and venues below)

This compelling new drama tells the powerful and deeply moving story of Laurie Cunningham who came to prominence with West Bromwich Albion in the late 1970’s. The first of the black footballing trio famously dubbed The Three Degrees – Laurie Cunningham with his swaggering style and dazzling skills forced favourable comparisons with the legendary Pele. The first ever millionaire black footballer, the first player of colour to sign for the mighty Real Madrid and only the second to win a full cap for England he inspired a whole generation of young black players to follow in his pioneering footsteps.

In dramatising Laurie Cunningham’s meteoric rise to stardom Getting The Third Degree also explores how he and his fellow black players – Brendon Batson and Cyrille Regis – triumphed over the racial abuse and physical threats often orchestrated by The National Front through a potent combination of footballing brilliance, charismatic style and compelling dignity.

Incorporating 1970’s funk, soul, blues, jazz/jive dance, football songs/chants, contemporary commentary and social and political speeches Getting The Third Degree is a powerful piece of total theatre that vividly recreates a tense and troubled period in the history of football and the wider society.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Laurie Cunningham’s niece, Rhodene Cunningham said ‘we are delighted that Kick It Out has commissioned this new stage play about Laurie’ s life. He was a very special man loved by us all and we hope that his pioneering story will be an inspiration to everyone who comes to see the production’.

With the resurgence of racial abuse at football matches and in wider society in the UK playwright Dougie Blaxland believes that “although Getting the Third Degree dramatises events that took place over 40 years the issues that the play raises are every bit as relevant today as they were then.”

Roisin Wood, Kick It Out’s Chief Executive, believes that “in an organisation committed to changing deeply embedded attitudes you cannot simply repeat the same message in the same way year after year. The commissioning of this play is an attempt to engage new audiences in our ongoing mission to combat racism in football. The more fans and followers of football we can encourage to see this exciting production the greater its impact will be.”

The play will be co-directed by Roughhouse Theatre’s joint Artistic Directors Shane Morgan and Moira Hunt who have worked with Blaxland on three other productions with sporting themes: Hands Up for Jonny Wilkinson’s Right Boot commissioned by the Rugby Football Union for the 2015 World Cup, When The Eye Has Gone written for the Professional Cricketers’ Association as part of its Mind Matters campaign and The Long Walk Back (the Chris Lewis story) which toured the UK to critical acclaim earlier this year.

The part of Laurie Cunningham, and all the other characters in his story, will be played by an ensemble cast of Emile Clarke with Sabrina Laurison and Zara Gabbidon (Spotlight links: Emile Clarke:

Sabrina Laurison:

Zara Gabbidon:


Getting The Third Degree Degree Schedule

Tues 22nd Oct The Wardrobe Theatre Bristol 0117 902 0344

Weds 23rd Oct Nottingham Playhouse Studio 0115 941 9419

Thurs 24th Oct Burnham Community Centre

Fri 25th Oct The Sherman Theatre Studio Cardiff 0209 2064 6900

Sat 26th Oct The Core at Corby Cube 01536 470 470 Mon 28th Oct The Castle Theatre Studio Wellingborough 01933 270 007

Tues 29th Oct The Maddermarket Theatre Norwich 01603 620 917

Weds 30th Oct The Hawth Theatre Studio Crawley 01293 553 636

Thurs 31st Oct The Hazlitt Theatre Studio Maidstone 01622 758 611

Fri 1st Nov Oct The Mac Theatre Birmingham 0121 446 3232

Sat 2nd Nov The Greenwich Theatre   London 020 8858 7755

Sun 3rd Nov The Greenwich Theatre  London 020 8858 7755

Mon 4th Nov Millicent Fawcett Hall Theatre Westminster School 020 7963 1000

Tues 5th Nov The Ben Travers Theatre Charterhouse School 01483 291 500

Weds 6th Nov The South Street Hexagon Theatre  Studio Reading 0118 960 6060

Thurs 7th Nov Salford Arts Manchester 0161 925 0111 www.salfordartstheatre/whats-on

Fri 8th Nov Salford Arts Manchester 0161 925 0111 www.salfordartstheatre/whats- on

Sat 9th Nov The Everyman Cheltenham 01242 572 573

Mon 11th Nov The College Theatre Bradfield 0118 964 4500

Tues 12th Nov Queen Elizabeth 11 Theatre Winchester College 01962 621 100

Weds 13th Nov The Rondo Theatre Bath 0333 666 3366 Thurs 14th Nov The Julian Slade Theatre Prior Park College 01225 835 353

Fri 15th Nov Phoenix Arts Bordon 01420 472 664 Sat 16th Nov The Marlborough Theatre Brighton 01273 273 870

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