Best in the World will hit the Bullseye

A darts-loving theatre director is bringing a critically-acclaimed show to South Tyneside as part of a ‘bite-sized’ theatre tour.

Best in the World is a hilarious and heart-warming story set in the world of darts and is being brought to the borough by darts-mad Annie Rigby, Director of Unfolding Theatre. The show is one of four short pieces of theatre commissioned by the Cultural Spring to tour small community venues.

The Cultural Spring, an Arts Council England funded project, aims to increase participation in the arts in South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Best in the World will be the second of the pieces to be delivered, and will be performed at the following venues: Hebburn Sports Club (Monday, March 12); The Customs House, South Shields (Tuesday, March 13); Whitburn and Marsden Social Club (Wednesday, March 14); the Red Hackle Pub (Thursday, March 15) and South Shields Football Club (Friday, March 16).

“I’ve always loved darts and the idea for the show first came to me when I was at the World Darts Championship watching Phil Taylor win and thought ‘what’s it really like to be the best in the world’ at something?” explained Annie.

The show, written by Carina Rodney and performed by Alex Elliott, was first staged in 2012 and, after winning excellent reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe, has toured since.

“We’ve updated it for this South Tyneside tour and weaved in stories from Chris Allen, from the Customs House, who was our darts coach when we first launched the show,” said Annie.

“Darts champions are very often ordinary people, normally a bit older than other world champions, and whereas what some athletes do might seem impossible for us to achieve, everyone can identify stepping up to the oche and attempting to throw a perfect dart.

“So it seemed an interesting idea to use the darts world for the show. I wanted to explore what it’s like for these people to be elevated to become ‘best in the world’ so we talked to people like Brendan Foster, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and Jonathan Edwards.

“I think most of us at some point in our lives have ‘gold medal’ moments and we want to try and capture and celebrate those moments.

“We’ve chosen our venues carefully – some of them like the Red Hackle and Whitburn & Marsden Social Club – have a tradition of darts. We are excited about bringing the show to people who might not normally go to the theatre. With The Customs House, we thought we could introduce theatre-goers to darts, so it works both ways,” Annie explained.

Cultural Spring Project Co-ordinator Emma Scarr explained: “The idea behind Best in the World and our other Bite-Size Theatre performances is to introduce good quality, short shows into local communities, giving people of all ages an opportunity to see something different in venues in their own neighbourhoods.”

The three other shows are: Wee Red and Her Wolf, a tale inspired by Little Red Riding Hood from author Laura Lindow; The Annual (Inaugural) Walter Plinge Memorial Lecture, in which writer Eric MacLennan explores true – and not-so-true – stories from South Tyneside, and Becoming Scheherazade, a play incorporating some of the 1001 stories of the Arabian Nights with the real story of Arab immigration to Europe.

“Our four shows are very different but I think all of them will entertain, fascinate and educate audiences across South Tyneside,” said Emma.

For further information and to book tickets, please click here.