Amazing Grace

Lighthouse. Camera. Action.

When Hollywood came to Northumberland it was bound to cause a storm.  Local girl Grace Armstrong sets out to make a film about her idol Grace Darling but things don’t turn out quite how she expects.

This funny, heartfelt play pays tribute to the Northumberland heroine Grace Darling, who in 1838, with her lighthouse keeper father William, rescued 9 survivors from the wreck of the SS Forfarshire.

The play included some original film footage shot as part of a unique partnership with Sunderland University, provided by Contrapunto, a digital film company formed by recent graduates from the University.

Directed by Emma Roxburgh and produced by Wisecrack Productions in association with Alnwick Playhouse. Amazing Grace was supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The wonderful poster and leaflet design (right) was done by Anthony Antoniou at

Amazing Grace starred Catherine Dryden, Sean Wildey and Trevor Cuthbertson. It opened at Alnwick Playhouse on October 17 2012 with a full house and a great response and then toured across the North East including Consett Empire, Hexham Queens Hall, Durham Gala, Hartlepool Town Hall, Gateshead Old Town Hall, Customs House, South Shields, Phoenix Theatre, Blyth, Berwick Maltings and Whitley Bay Playhouse.

The reviews were indeed amazing:

“Amazing Grace went down a treat – a truly entertaining play.” Northumberland Gazette

 “The legend is relived and warms our hearts, it’s a comedy and a history lesson.” Evening Chronicle

“Some fabulously funny one-liners.. Amazing Grace pushes the boat out, sailing neatly towards an oar-inspiring end.” Northern Echo

“The pacey and engaging script presented the cast of ‘Amazing Grace’ with the perfect springboard for their talents” Berwick Advertiser

“Amazing Grace provokes laughter, thought and intrigue, while capturing the essence of North-East culture on both overt and deeply subtle levels” Shields Gazette

“Pride and Prejudice meets Billy Elliot meets Usual Suspects with a soupcon of the Likely Lads thrown in” Sunderland Echo

“Enlivened by witty gags – the rescue re-enactment is a triumph of visual comedy” The Stage

“Many laugh-out-loud moments, entertaining and educational, in one package”

“Learn about Grace while being hugely entertained by this zapping comedy.”

“Brimming with humour and heartache”

The tour would not have been possible without help from several organisations and companies. As well as the aforementioned Alnwick Playhouse and Sunderland University it received support from Vic Young, Newcastle Racecourse, North of England P & I Association and