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.
The Internet Movie Database (IMDB.com) page has been updated. RA has been added as Chop, and two more cast members have been named:
Thanks to RA US Special Correspondent Chrissy Lampard for the IMDB tip!
Thanks to Richard Armitage Net for this very welcome news item: Richard has been cast in Urban and the Shed Crew, a Blenheim Films production, which has just started filming in Leeds in the UK. The filming will take place over the next 6 weeks. This film is adapted from the best-selling novel of the same name, written by Bernard Hare. Richard will play ‘Chop’, an ex-social worker who befriends the eponymous character ‘Urban’.
Read all about it on the Richard Armitage Net website!