A new musical celebrating the life of songwriter Eric Boswell who found fame with his worldwide Christmas hit Little Donkey, The Donkey, The Whippet and the Giant Leek will be performed by his friends, international opera stars Graeme Danby and Valerie Reid.
The show features more than 20 of Boswell’s hits and compositions including ballads and comic songs from his North East Songbook, the production – written and devised by Tom Kelly and Graeme Thompson – charts Boswell’s life and career from his early days in Sunderland to his final years in Northumberland where he died in 2009 aged 88.
He enjoyed great commercial success in the 1950s and 60s writing for stars including Matt Munro, Ricky Valance and Gracie Fields. Fields took Little Donkey to the top of the charts in 1959 and it was a hit for many other artists around the world as well as becoming a fixture in school nativity plays and carol concerts.
But Boswell always believed his best work was to be found in his songs about the changing face of the North East in the last quarter of the 20th Century, including The Whippet, The Ghost of St Mary’s, Maybe This is Love, The Summer of Last Year and The Great Longbenton Leek which are featured in this new show – a labour of love for singers Graeme Danby and Valerie Reid.