The real-life story of the first British girls’ rugby league team to tour Australia – the mighty Batley Girls Under 16s – is coming to the stage in September.
Written by playwright Kevin Fegan, who was invited on tour with the team back in 2015, The Ruck will be premiered at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield.
It’s a co-production by the LBT and Creative Scene, an Arts Council project in West Yorkshire, and arose from a residency by Fegan at the Batley Bulldogs. During his time with the club he met members of the under 16s girls’ team and their families. Since the team, which is coached by one of the fathers, was formed in 2012 it has won the English championship twice.
The Ruck follows the fortunes of the inspirational young players as they overcome teenage problems and challenges on and off the pitch and will be the LBT’s first touring production.
Director Joyce Branagh says: “It’s a beautiful new play that is vibrant, funny and extremely moving about Yorkshire; about the problems of being a teenager (and being the parent of a teenager) and how a brilliant game like rugby league can be a support, a focus and a metaphor for the ups and down of everyday life. Always remember: try, try again.”