Brings “Last Ship” musical to Oshawa
After 100 years or so of making vehicles in Oshawa, and as the major employer in the city, General Motors announced late last year it would close the plant.
Sting (Gordon Sumner) knows what it’s like for a town to lose its main source of employment.
He saw that happen in his shipbuilding town of Wallsend, Newcastle on Tyne. The long history of shipbuilding came to a virtual end when the last shipyard closed in 2007. That led to Sting creating “the Last Ship”, a musical originally inspired by his 1991 album “The Soul Cages” and “The Last Ship” album of 2013.
It is built around how the community dealt with the closure of the shipyard.
Premiered in Chicago in 2014, it is now playing in Toronto, but Sting wanted to show solidarity with the General Motors workers in nearby Oshawa who are dealing with the announced closure of the plant there.
Some 3,000 employees will be affected by the closure of the GM plant set for the end of this year. About 25,000 other jobs at suppliers throughout the region also will be adversely affected, along with a wide variety of retail and other businesses in the city.
Sting will stage a version of the musical for Oshawa workers on Thursday. The labour union, Unifor, which represents the workers rented a local community centre for the performance, where Sting and cast members will perform at no cost. In a press release Unifor president Jerry Dias, said, “The Oshawa GM workers are incredibly grateful to Sting and the cast of this show for their support as they continue to fight for their jobs.”
- UNIFOR: Feb 11/19: Sting-solidarity with workers
- Canadian Press (via CBC): Feb 11/19: Sting to support GM workers
- BlogTO: L O’Neil: Feb 12/19: Sting takes show to Oshawa
- Mirvish Theatre: Last Ship performances
- The Drive: R Stumpf: Feb 12/19: Sting to help GM workers
- ChronicleLive (UK): Mar 29/18: Last ship performed in Newcastle