Well played! Damned United stage production is set to visit grassroots venues in Leeds

Damned United actor Luke Dickson during a recent visit to Elland Road.
Damned United actor Luke Dickson during a recent visit to Elland Road.

A stage play based on Leeds United-themed novel The Damned United is swapping the home comforts of theatreland for a no-frills series of away fixtures.

The play, which tells the story of Brian Clough’s ill-fated 44 days as United manager in 1974, runs at Leeds’s West Yorkshire Playhouse until this Saturday.

And from there it will head out on a tour of social clubs, community centres and other grassroots venues across Leeds.

The play is a reworked and smaller-scale version of a production that won acclaim during a five-week run at the Playhouse in 2016.

It features Luke Dickson as Clough while David Chafer portrays Peter Taylor, the controversial football legend’s right hand man.

Playhouse artistic director James Brining said: “When we talked about The Damned United coming back to Leeds for another run I knew we should take it out as a community tour.

“It’s important to us that the work we make reflects and engages with our city and The Damned United is a story that really means something to people in Leeds.”

The community tour begins at West Leeds Sports & Social Club on April 11, with further dates at The Anglers Club in Burmantofts (April 12), Chapeltown’s Mandela Centre (April 13), Rothwell’s Blackburn Hall (April 14), Gipton WMC (April 17), South Leeds Stadium (April 18), Hawksworth Wood Village Hall (April 19), Seacroft’s Chapel FM (April 20) and Middleton’s Parochial Hall (April 21).

Written by Ossett-born David Peace, The Damned United was first published in 2006 and was later made into a film starring Michael Sheen.

The stage production is a joint enterprise between the Playhouse and Leeds’s Red Ladder Theatre Company.

Red Ladder artistic director Rod Dixon said: “As a story it has it all – passion, power struggles, tragedy and a classic anti-hero in Clough.

“The play perfectly captures the grit and poetry of David’s writing.

“We’re thrilled to be taking The Damned United into the heart of communities.”