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The 56

  • Priestfields Conference Suite ME7 2PE Kent (map)
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By Lung

The 56 was developed with The Lowry and The Civic in Barnsley
Written by Matt Woodhead and Gemma Wilson


‘Nobody dies in football matches in fires. It doesn’t happen’.


At 3.40pm on May 11th 1985, a small fire broke out in the main stand at Valley Parade football ground during the last game of the season. Within four minutes, the wooden structure was ablaze.

Adapted solely from over sixty real-life testimonies, this bold and pertinent piece of documentary theatre pays homage to the supporters who lost their lives in one of the darkest days in British footballing history.

On the 31st anniversary of the disaster, ‘The 56’ examines the solidarity, strength and community in the face of overwhelming tragedy.



‘The 56 packs raw emotional power’ – Sunday Times
‘A young and remarkable company’ – Independent
‘’There’s a refreshing simplicity to the show, fittingly respectful and dramatically effective.’’ Three Weeks
“A sensitively-handled piece of verbatim theatre from a young company of skill and ambition” The Stage
“The 56 was proof that the fringe is often at its best when stripped bare, shorn of any sound effects or gimmicky costumes, telling a true story of human tragedy.” The Guardian



Thursday 22 & Friday 23 September (Post show talk 22 September)

Doors: 7pm. Show: 7.30pm
Location: Priestfields Football Stadium
Duration: 75mins
Suitability: 13+
Tickets: £10 – book online


Join us for a postshow discussion on sport and art in the Medway community.

The 22nd September will also feature an industry post show discussion based on sport and art within the Medway community, debating how we can effectively use sport and art as a cross platform to attract audiences, engage communities and fulfil organisational aims. Panellists include LUNG company and local influential sports and arts advocates.

Making theatre by communities, for communities and with communities, LUNG is a national touring theatre company, developing innovative and politically driven work that broadens horizons and investigates modern Britain.

Founded in Barnsley in 2016, LUNG frequently performs and develops new work with The Lowry, Battersea Arts Centre and The Civic in Barnsley. We are dedicated to producing new verbatim theatre as well as collaborating with new writers. Back home up north, LUNG also pursues an extensive education programme which specialises in bringing theatre into new communities across South Yorkshire.

Matt Woodhead – Artistic Director
Sarah Georgeson – Producer
Christabel Holmes – Assistant Producer
Helen Monks – Associate Artist
Will Monks – Resident Lighting Designer
Joseph Priestley – Resident Publicist & Designer


Winner of:
Directors’ Guild Award Best Newcomer
Spotlight Award for Most Promising Actress
Judges Award for Best Ensemble (NSDF)
Shortlisted for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award

‘Definitely a company to watch’ – The Stage
‘A Young and Remarkable Company’ – The Independent
‎@LungTheatre #The56

Earlier Event: September 23
Baby Beatbox
Later Event: September 24
Can I Help You?