North east’s first music hall superstar

Ned Corvan,  (1827 -1865) was the first professional North East singer/songwriter. A virtuoso violinist and comedian.
Ned Corvan, (1827 -1865) was the first professional North East singer/songwriter. A virtuoso violinist and comedian.

Mr Corvan’s Music Hall, a new musical play by Ed Waugh, will be at The Maltings, Berwick, on Thursday, June 8.

Born in 1827, Corvan was a comedian, virtuoso violinist, artist and singer/songwriter of hits including ‘The Cullercoats Fish Lass’, ‘Fishermen Hung the Monkey’ (he started the Hartlepool Monkey legend) and the first popular protest song ‘Toon Improvement Bill’.

After running away from home, aged 18, to join Billy Purvis’ travelling show (melodramas, farces and musical interludes), Ned honed his singing, songwriting, comedy, painting and musical talents.

In 1853, aged 25, Corvan became the very first full-time, professional north east singer-songwriter when he performed under his own name at the Royal Olympic Music Hall (now occupied by Newcastle Central Station) with a capacity for 2,800 people, with no amplification! He became an “overnight” sensation.

Based on the forthcoming book by renowned historian and author Dave Harker, the play stars Benny Graham (Pitman Poets) and Johnny Handle (folk superstar) and brings to life 20 of Ned’s brilliant songs against a backdrop of a dramatic, funny but tragic story.

Show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets £15 from www.maltingsberwick.co.uk.