The Donkey, The Whippet and The Giant Leek

A new musical celebrating the life of Sunderland-born songwriter Eric Boswell
Thu 11 Apr 19:30
Thu 11 Apr

The Donkey, The Whippet and the Giant Leek, a new musical celebrating the life of Sunderland-born songwriter Eric Boswell who found fame with his worldwide Christmas hit Little Donkey, 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.

Doors: 19:00
Performance Starts: 19:30
Tickets: £25
Under 14s must be accompanied by an adult

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He enjoyed great commercial success in the 1950s and 60s writing for stars including Matt Munro, Ricky Valance, and Gracie Fields, who took Little Donkey to the top of the charts in 1959.

The song 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 and songs including The Whippet, The Ghost of St Mary’s, Maybe This is Love, The Summer of Last Year and The Great Longbenton Leek are featured in the new show – a labour of love for singers Graeme Danby and Valerie Reid.

  • “We got to know Eric towards the end of his life when we were recording his songs. I’m from Consett so I loved the fact he was writing these wonderful songs about life in this part of the country. He had a unique way of capturing the dialect, character, and landscape of the North East – and his melodies are just gorgeous.”

    Graeme Danby

  • “We were privileged that he wrote a song for our wedding. Maybe This is Love is about a Scottish lass meeting and marrying a Geordie lad – which is exactly our story. And we can’t wait to perform it along with so many of Eric’s other songs.”

    Valerie Reid