Remembering Urban and the Shed Crew’s Urban – Lee Kirton – on the Anniversary of the Film’s World Premiere
On November 7, 2015, at Chapel FM – in the Leeds neighborhood where Chop, Greta, Urban and his Shed Crew lived – a feature film based on these lives made its world premiere to packed houses. In light of these two compelling, sold-out screenings, The Leeds International Film Festival added an extra screening of the film – directed by Candida Brady and based on Bernard Hare’s memoir – the next day, at a larger venue, the historic Hyde Park Picture House. Most of the cast, and many of the actual – now adult – Crew attended, including Lee Kirton, Urban himself.
But the journey of the members of the Shed Crew was never an easy one. And in June, Lee/Urban himself lost his nearly life-long battle with addiction. It happened as playwright Kevin Fegan finished his verse version of The Crew’s story, and staging was being prepped in Leeds.
‘Don’t mourn him too much. (Lee) did what he had to do and now he’s gone. “Deal with it,” to quote Kev. “We did.”‘ says Hare, who officially adopted Lee, and unofficially adopted the Crew and their families. ‘We’ve had to do a bit of speed-grieving around here because of the strange and unique circumstances. Still, I’ll never get used to losing my right arm.’
So the show – as it must – went on, and proved to be a powerful and emotional experience for all who knew, and who knew about, The Crew. With the permission of the playwright, here are his cathartic and striking Prologue and his final scene.
EXCERPTED FROM “THE SHED CREW” BY KEVIN FEGAN.
- A WAREHOUSE IN LEEDS. THE AUDIENCE ARE BROUGHT INTO A HOLDING BAY. URBAN IS ON HIGH. CHOP IS DOWN BELOW WITH THE AUDIENCE.
Hey, Chop, it’s great up here –
come and see the sights.
You know I’m feared of heights.
Who’s is this warehouse?
Since when did we care?
We’re two infamous outlaws, us.
Urban, come down will you, one last time?
Why, what did you have in mind?
Good place to tell our story?
I know it’s 2017
and things have changed –
Never be the same again.
I know what you mean.
Who’s gunna start, me or you?
You kick off, while we wait
for the rest of the Shed Crew.
When we first met Chop, he became
some kind of fat bastard spirit guide:
some of us were ten, some of us were fifteen,
some of us were mental, some of us were mean;
we were walking on the wild side,
not like mowgli in the jungle
befriended by kindly animals,
more like Lord of the Flies,
abandoned on some desert island
in the inner city of Leeds.
We were totally off the lead,
we took care of our own needs
and we grew like rampant weeds
in the financial flower-bed of the North.
Yes, we were Thatcher’s illegitimate bastards
but we didn’t need saving,
we were children of the rave scene
and we knew how to party
in the graveyard of Leeds.
They’re all my family.
Especially Urban, who I adopted from day one.
Why did you do that, Chop,
when I’ve been in and out of prison
since the day I was born?
You’ve been like a son to me.
Shut up, you nonce, you’re embarrassing me.
Listen to me for once.
There’s something about you, Urban,
I knew it from the start.
Told you before, Chop, you’re all heart,
it’ll get you nowhere.
You were twelve years old in 1995,
a cheeky little gobshite,
who couldn’t read nor write –
THE SHUTTERS OPEN TO THE WAREHOUSE AND
CHOP LEADS THE AUDIENCE INTO THE MAIN SPACE.
One thing you should know
about the downtrodden and the poor:
in every slum, there’s a natural
conspiracy against law and order.
There’s give for those who can give
and there’s take for those who take.
You see, when the stakes are high
some people would rather turn to crime
than live with the leftovers of life.
As for me, I see every little crime as a dead rat
in the Tories’ water tank;
some of us are just waiting for a chance
to smash and grab, pillage and burn,
turn society upside down
and shake the coins from its pockets,
put a rocket under its arse
and shoot it to the moon
to the thumping beat of an old-school choon.
SCENE 14 (Final Scene)
THEY ARRIVE AT THE LAKE DISTRICT IN THEIR STOLEN
CAR AND MAKE CAMP.
They park up at Lake Windermere
and recky the lie of the land.
They camp in the woods nearby
and sit around a warm fire making plans.
The pitch has good voodoo.
Right, you all know what we have to do.
THEY PUT ON BALACLAVAS AND GLOVES. URBAN
CARRIES EXCALIBUR, CHOP CARRIES THE
BOLT-CROPPERS, SAM A PETROL CAN AND PIXIE AN OLD
RAG AND MATCHES.
At midnight, they return to the lake.
Me and Urb will nick a rowing boat;
you guys be quick torching the car.
SAM POURS PETROL OVER THE CAR AND PIXIE LIGHTS
THE RAG AND THROWS IT IN. THERE IS A WHOOSH AS IT
CATCHES FIRE. CHOP CUTS THE CHAIN TO A ROWING
BOAT AND JUMPS IN WITH URBAN.
Let’s row to the island
and watch the fire engines.
It’s time, Urban: throw Excalibur
into the lake while the flames burn.
THE BOAT WOBBLES AS URBAN STANDS UP.
It’s a real shame, Urbie,
I was hoping you’d change the world for me.
URBAN THROWS THE MACHETE INTO THE WATER.
Chop, man, that’s your job;
you’re the only one can read and write properly;
you’re the teacher, not me.
What exactly have I showed you?
How to get locked-up and knocked-up?
How to get twatted on drugs?
Stuff like that?
Yeah. And how to be decent
with each other, and kind;
how to chill out and not be
fucking lunatics all the time.
You have to tell our story:
get in touch with that Fergal Keane,
tell him how it is for real.
Maybe I will; what the fuck,
maybe I’ll write him a letter,
maybe I’ll write him a book.
REST OF THE SHED CREW JOIN THEM.
We lived it, we couldn’t care less;
most of us are still here to tell the tale:
some of us are addicts
and some run our own business,
some of us are in jail
and some are as straight as a vicar’s dick
and some are completely off the rails.
But look at us: we’re all in a book.
Deal with it, we did; this is for real.
A STORM BREAKS. THUNDER AND LIGHTNING.
What about me, Chop? What became of me?
What can I say? It’s 2017, Urbie,
you’ve left the scene.
But we’ll always have our story.
Some things can’t be undone;
I’m gunna miss you, son.
URBAN STARTS TO LEAVE.
All that energy has to go somewhere:
you’ll always be in the “ch’i” –
the energy blazing through every living thing.
I’ll not mourn;
but instead, when it thunders and lightning
and kicks up a storm,
I’ll think of you, Urban, kickin’-off up there
without a care in the world.
URBAN HAS GONE.
Director Candida Brady is hoping to release her film of Urban and the Shed Crew globally online. At this point, nothing official has been announced. For updates, please check Ms. Brady’s Twitter account, as well as the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the film.
Berlin Station S2 continues S1’s tradition of blending its superb US cast with equally gifted international actors to create a talented, tight ensemble. The series airs in the US on EPIX Sunday nights at 9/8C, and on a slight delay in territories worldwide.
Let’s keep working on the UK, shall we, Paramount TV?
To many of us, this time of year can sometimes be rough. You get stressed, there are all these pressures: family gatherings, gifting, celebrations, parties… so many demands. The next thing you know, you’re grumpy! (Even good old RA US!) I’ve been frank about my struggle with depression, and this time of year could be, well, difficult. But I know that I have my own community, a community that embraces not only me, but also you – and others – as well: the Richard Armitage community!
Like the man himself, I believe our community epitomizes the spirit of this season, which is all about love, inclusion, hope, promises kept and kindness. When I look at the Richard Armitage fandom, I know I’m truly blessed to have you guys in my life. AND we are all blessed to have each other. (And RA, too, o’course. After all, we are a community because of his professional artistry and personal integrity and spirit!)
SHARE OUR VALUES OF LOVE,
INCLUSION AND KINDNESS!
RA supports a number of charities doing superb,
much-needed good work.
Go to JustGiving for a list of them all,
and please give as generously as you can afford.
Open your heart: love, live and enjoy!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE!
What a great year 2014 has been for RA (and for us): I think it ALL began with The Anglophile Channel 2013 British Artist of the Year Award! That was followed by Pinter/PROUST in NYC in January; the The Anglophile Channel interviews on its YouTube Channel in February; then Urban and The Shed Crew and its regular updates. In May, we had the audiobook (#1 for the year for Audible, by the way) Hamlet: The Novel that overlapped with The Old Vic’s advance promotion for The Crucible. Once The Crucible opened, we had RA updates every day for three months, as he took the time after each evening performance to meet his followers at the Stage Door. And in the middle of ALL The Crucible’s well-deserved accolades, Into the Storm opened, and RA joined social media. The Crucible wrapped up and RA seemed to be in LA almost immediately for Sleepwalker… and now we have The Hobbit: THORIN (aka #BOFTA)!
RA and all of his followers have been immensely blessed this year; RA has brought us so many gifts of phenomenal performances and delightful appearances. Thank you, RA!
In return, we believe we should give something back.
RA supports a number of charities doing superb,
much-needed good work.
Go to JustGiving for a list of them all,
and give as generously as you can afford.
We know these causes mean much to RA, and he might even prefer
that we spend our money there, rather than a Ferrari.
Marlise Boland of The Anglophile Channel interviews if RA in February were a tremendous hit with fans: RA as you’d never seen him before!
The interviews here: Teaser; First Interview; Second interview; Third Interview; Silly bits.
“Urban and the Shed Crew,” based on a true story by Bernard Hale. IMDb’s description: It’s been described as a tale of heroin and cement, set in Britain’s underclass in the 90s.
Twelve-year old Urban Grimshaw (Fraser Kelly) is Britain’s most runaway child, he’s even been on TVs Crimewatch. His mother is a junkie and his father might as well be dead. He can’t read or write, and he doesn’t go to school. His average day is spent sitting around a bonfire with his mates smoking drugs and stealing cars. When he meets his mother’s new friend Chop (RA), a 37 year old, disillusioned, ex-social worker also living on society’s margins, on one of Leeds roughest estates, the two become firm friends. But even Chop with his own penchant for drink, drugs and hard living is shocked by the state of Urban’s life. After much soul searching he resolves to clean up his own act and save the kid. But as their friendship deepens, Urban introduces him to the Shed Crew the anarchic gang of kids aged between ten and fourteen years who spend their time joy-riding, thieving, and engaging in drugs and sex. It is only then that we see exactly how long the road to civilization really is.
When ex-social worker Bernard Hare turned his startling experiences with a group of young delinquents into a novel it was described as one of the year’s most compelling and best selling books. Urban and the Shed Crew is a stunning piece of ethnography described by The Guardian as moving but never sanctimonious, another City of God, this time for Britain rather than Brazil.
Our album about the production – from photos to interviews with Author Bernard Hale and others – can be found here.
As Urban and the Shed Crew wrapped, RA released Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel, brilliantly written by AJ Hartley and David Hewson. Audible.com describes it as: “…a tale of ghosts, of madness, of revenge – of old alliances giving way to new intrigues. Denmark is changing, shaking off its medieval past. War with Norway is on the horizon. And Hamlet – son of the old king, nephew of the new – becomes increasingly entangled in a web of deception – and murder. Beautifully and compellingly performed by actor Richard Armitage Hamlet, Prince of Denmark takes Shakespeare’s original into unexpected realms, reinventing a story we thought we knew.
For RA’s rendition, Audible named it its #1 Audiobook of the year! Listen and you’ll understand why!
RA signed on for an intense, “visceral” three-month gig on stage as John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, directed by Yael Farber in-the-round at the Old Vic. Rehearsal photos began showing up early as part of the promotion. Then things got under way in June with the play’s previews, followed by Opening Night in July.
The Crucible is powerful and complex – especially this interpretation – and received well-earned 5-star reviews across the board. Learn more about it on The Old Vic website and in our album here, and share your appreciation of RA and the The Crucible production on our Richard Armitage in THE CRUCIBLE Appreciation page.
During alll the amazing publicity, accolades and sold-out shows of The Crucible, RA’s US film Into the Storm opened! Although it was, as RA called it, a “summer disaster film,” it performed well internationally. More here in our Into the Storm album. (RA US had a crew on the Black Carpet! What an honor!)
AND, on his birthday – again, in the middle of The Crucible run – the very best thing of the 2014 happened: RA joined Twitter. For all his previous comments about not understanding social media (My Space, RA, really? ), he has taken to it like a pro, and seems to be enjoying himself (we certainly are!)! King of the Hashtags and Selfies! It is a welcome link to, and yet another gift to his fans!
Then, toward the end of the run of The Crucible came the news all those who hadn’t been able make the London trip – and, franly, all who’d seen it – had been hoping for: The Old Vic was allowing Digital Theatre to record the production! It would be released in theatres in the UK and Ireland in December, and then globally – except, due to copyright issues, in North America – in theaters in 2015. However, American and Canadian audiences will be able to download a production they never thought to see. What a lovely gift!
So: 1980s poverty-stricken Leeds; 1300s-1400s Denmark; 17th century Salem, Massachusetts… what was next for RA?
The contemporary thriller Sleepwalker, with RA as Dr. Scott White. The Anglophile Channel blog describes it this way: “In a script written by Jack Olsen, Sleepwalker, centers around Sarah (Ahna O’Reilly, best known for her role in The Help) who’s trying to reconstruct her life following the apparent suicide of her novelist husband. After returning to university, to finish her dissertation, Sarah experiences frequent bouts of sleepwalking. She is sent to Dr. Scott White’s (Armitage) sleep research lab for treatment. When Sarah’s life starts to alternate between her waking world and a nightmarish alternate reality, where no one recognizes that she has ever existed, she is plunged into chaos, confusion and terror. The one constant in her shifting world is Scott, the man she’s been longing for all her life. But does Sarah’s true love actually exist, or is it a figment of Sarah’s troubled imagination that derives from wishful thinking and longing? (I think I had a dream like this once…)”
And in November, RA celebrated the 10th anniversary of the iconic North & South, a role that really put him on (our) map, at least.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
Already making its international box office power obvious, according to Deadline: The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies continues to roll out overseas, planet Earth is becoming dominated by Middle-earth. The finale to Peter Jackson’s big-footed trilogy opened in 17 markets Thursday with No. 1s across the board. Grossing a total $13.7M in 28 markets, the cume at Thursday’s close was $26.6M.”
And it doesn’t even hit the STATES until next week!
I’ve left out other RA projects: his narration of a terrific documentary, not to mention his promotion of the DOS DVD and then the DOS EE DVD, his marathon Hobbit: THORIN promotional tour , and a much-longed for reunion interview with Marlise & The Anglophile Channel; here’s the tease …
And I’ve surely missed some other things as well. TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS!
So BLESS YOU, our incredibly hard-working RA! Congratulations on an astonishing year! We can’t wait to see what’s to come!
And remember: See all he’s done for us this year! SO much Access!
Again, one last call-to-action:
Please, everyone, let’s all determine to give something back.
RA supports a number of charities doing incredible work with few resources.
Go to JustGiving for a list of them – Shelter, YoungMinds,
The Salvation Army, Childline, Anthony Nolan
and Barbado’s – and give as generously as you can afford.
And we wish RA and all or his colleagues a lovely, restful, renewing holiday season! Then on to 2015!
Interesting information about the film and RA’s Twitter demographics… I don’t actually believe the Twitter info is accurate. Thanks to RA Bulgaria for pointing me to this lovely site!
And don’t forget the live stream of the World Premiere! You can watch it here: http://bit.ly/THORINPremiere
And you can tweet questions to the cast using the #OneMoreTime hashtag!
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
World Premiere – Fan Access Information UPDATE
This message is from a few members of the Facebook page ‘Richard’s Rascals – The Armitage Effect,’ who have have come up with an idea for a special surprise Christmas present for Richard Armitage. We agree that it’s a super idea, and hope they make it an annual tradition.
Here’s the scoop from Mel Brown and Linden Tree, who you can reach here:
Richard has said in interviews that he’d rather his well-wishers give to charity rather than buy him gifts. So, for those fans who would like to participate, we’d love them to join us from Friday November 28th (9pm UK time) and send a flurry of donations to Richard’s chosen charities through Just Giving. We would then love for people to post a message on Twitter (for those who have an account).
As well as supporting some wonderful organisations, it will also be a way to spread goodwill around the internet, and show our respect and admiration of Richard en masse in a way that we think will be very meaningful.
As fans we love to celebrate him, and what better way than by giving him what he wants – to help those less fortunate.
Here is an outline of our suggestion:
1. From 9pm UK time on Friday 28th (not before), head to JustGiving and select one (or more!) of Richard’s chosen charities.
2. Make a donation and leave a message that includes #RAXmas, your location and your Twitter handle (if you have one). You can choose to donate anonymously and still leave a message. Please choose the option to hide the amount of your donation, as we want to avoid any sense of competition or anxiety over donation amounts.
3. We would then love for people to post a message on Twitter (for those who have an account). Write a message with #RAXmas, #JustGiving and your location, plus any message and/or image you wish. You may choose to include the charity’s number. Feel free to use our Christmas tree image.
Eg: For #RAXmas I’ve just donated to #charityname via #JustGiving. London.
4. Feel free to favourite and retweet others’ messages if you can, to have the best chance of him seeing them.
5. Everyone is of course absolutely welcome to make multiple donations and send additional messages. The more activity #RAXmas gets, the more potential interest we generate.
** Note for non-UK residents. If for some reason you are unable to donate through Just Giving, we encourage you to try the individual charities’ websites. If this still does not work, we ask that you consider selecting a charity in your home country that supports the same cause as one of Richard’s, and still write a Twitter message using #RAXmas to let us know who you’ve given to. We are confident that this gesture will still be very much appreciated by him. <NOTE FROM RA US: I’m in the US and have given through Just Giving a number of times and have never had a problem.>
Thank you all for reading, and we really hope you’ll be able to take part in #RAXmas. For any further information please contact me or Linden Tree directly via the @RAXmas FB group (although it’s classified as “closed,” it’s inclusive!).
The RA Rascals.
Remember, 9pm UK time, Fri 28th, and keep it a Twitter secret til then.
Today’s North & South 10th Anniversary Celebration launched with a BIG BANG as RA tweeted twice about the anniversary. In the first (see below) he displayed his usual RA humor. But in the second (above) he used the opportunity to reach out to his audience and request our support for one of his chosen charities, YoungMinds:
What exactly is the organization RA is asking you to support? “YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. Driven by their experiences we campaign, research and influence policy and practice.” A perfectly wonderful charity that certainly deserves our support. If the links in the photo captions don’t work, here they are again:
To donate to YoungMinds, you may go to:
- RA’s Just Giving page here https://www.justgiving.com/Richard-Armitage13, and also send a note of thanks to RA and YM for all they do
- Or you may go directly to Young Minds’ donation page here: http://www.youngminds.org.uk/support_our_work/donate
Of course, the #NS10 celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the premiere of North & South on the BBC continues through December 7 (the series aired Nov. 14-Dec.5.
Let’s see if we can create TREND on Twitter and FB,
by adding #NS10 on ALL your posts about the anniversary.
Here are the basics for joining in this celebration:
1. Watch N&S, beginning this weekend…
2. Take a photo: a selfie, or your TV screen, the DVD cover, even pick a photo of your favorite character (in costume!): be creative (but PG-13!)… Like this:
3. Tell us where you live, the characters you love AND be sure to add #NS10 (so we can track all responses and compile them)…
4. POST IT EVERYWHERE YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA, and on the event’s FB (http://bit.ly/NS10th) and Twitter (NS10 @NandS10th) pages!
Since the series ran from November 14 through December 5, we’ll be keeping the pages open for photos through December 7 (and perhaps longer)
Discussions are already under way on the FB page (http://bit.ly/NS10th) and on the Twitter page (NS10 @NandS10th), so join in now!
Finally – saving the most fun for last – here is RA’s first tweet, with that RA sense of humor.
I LOVE him in those hats! Every time I watch the show, I think: “THAT man can WEAR a hat!” Examples:
And, again, there’s Ozzy: