BROKEN hearts, broken bones and broken promises – the battle for rugby’s soul is about to begin or at least, its story retold.
It is a bit of a coals to Newcastle story for those of us who have been brought up on tales of the “great split” in the game of rugby.
But which of us will admit that our pulses won’t race just a little when the story of how the Rugby League came to be founded in Huddersfield is re-lived on stage.
Broken Time is a new production about the events that led to the historic split between the amateur and professional codes of rugby.
It kicks off at the Lawrence Batley Theatre on Wednesday where it runs until Saturday. Evening shows start at 7.30pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.15pm
There can be few sports fans in Huddersfield who are unaware of the day in 1895 when 21 northern clubs met at the George Hotel in the centre of the town.
What those men decided was the momentous for they voted by a majority of 20 to 1 to secede from the Rugby Union to set up their own Northern Rugby Football Union.
In 1922 this became the Rugby Football League.
Theatre producer Greg Boardman fell in love with the story during a chance meeting with Umesh Ummat, the chairman of Brook Hotels, owners of the George Hotel who told him the rugby tale.
He brought together a Northern creative team which he felt would share their passion for a common heritage and spirit.
Bradford-based Mick Martin is an award-winning writer and a lifelong rugby fan.
“It’s such a big, powerful, important, dramatic story about our common heritage and culture,” he said.
“Rugby is all about big personalities staking everything, summoning up all their skill, strength and willpower to win the day – so is drama.”
Mick trained at Bretton Hall College in Wakefield and his last big production, One Upon A Time In Wigan played to sell-out audiences and was seen by over 60,000 people.
In Broken Time he has produced an action packed piece rooted in a real-life series of events.
The play follows a fictional town and club, West Broughton, whose team is going awry.
Lewy Jenkins, rising star of Welsh rugby, is lured to play in Yorkshire with the promise of a public house of his very own and a few quid besides! Lewy loves to play, and soon he loves a certain young star of the music hall – Miss Bessie Butterworth!
Broken Time has been touring the heartland of rugby league and gets to play its grand final in front of what is in theory, a home crowd here in Huddersfield next week.
For tickets call 01484 430528.