Steel and Iron




A raft of local celebrities including Chris Kamara, Steph McGovern and Mark Benton have today (April 6) helped Teesside International and Twenty Seven Productions announce a new play – with the premiere set to be held at the airport.

Teesside Airport has entered into a partnership with the production company over the show “Steel and Iron”, which also features contributions from a wealth of local talent.

Top-ten charting Middlesbrough singer-songwriter Alistair Griffin has composed the music and songs for the piece, with brother and sister duo Helen and Joe Hammill, AKA Cattle and Cane, and Maximo Park’s Paul Smith also adding their skills.


Based on a concept by Middlesbrough-born producer Katie Gibson and written by John Hoggarth, it follows a motley crew of people all from different backgrounds but united by Middlesbrough, and asks: “What happens to a place that is defined by its heritage and industry, when those are taken away from it?”.


Teesside International’s partnership with the company will also see Alistair compose a song specifically for the airport to help it market its activities and raise its profile even further locally, nationally and globally.

Phil Forster, Interim Managing Director of Teesside Airport, said: “Although Steel and Iron has been in the pipeline for a while, I don’t think it could be coming at a better time for our airport or our region.

“We are celebrating our 80th birthday with an exhibition as we take forward massive redevelopment work, while our history of iron and steelmaking is being talked about again with the regeneration of the Teesworks site. People are thinking more than ever about our past, and how that’s going to shape future of the Tees Valley and all this makes Katie’s play a brilliant fit.

“It shows Teesside international is once again thinking outside of the box to not just give great quality flights to a growing number of worldwide destinations but to support our area and help shout about it in other ways. I can’t wait to see the finished play and hear Alistair’s song, which will surely stick in the hearts and minds of our local people.” 

Producer Katie Gibson said: “This production has been brewing since 2016 but unfortunately, like most things, it recently fell victim to the dreaded Covid-19 which put the brakes on but now we’re back and ready to roll.

“We’ve drafted in a host of brilliant people from across our area, including some of the brightest musical talents, to help us tell our story, connect with our audience and challenge preconceptions around Middlesbrough and regional theatre. I’m so excited to finally be bringing our vision to the stage, with a previous sneak peek winning rave reviews.

“Like everyone from around here, I’m proud to see our airport turning a corner and I know it will be one of the keys to our future. I’m delighted to be working with Phil and the team to premiere our show and give them a memorable and fitting song in the process!”

Coronavirus restrictions permitting, a pre-launch show will take place at the airport on 5 August, ahead of its run at Middlesbrough Town Hall the following week, with more information coming soon.

Teesside International Airport Social Media

More about Steel and Iron…

Producing body, Twenty Seven Productions have made a regional name for themselves as one of the top immersive theatre companies in the country, and decided it was time to think big and create something that could change the face of regional theatre and the way it, and Middlesbrough as a town, are portrayed. They are arguably known for their work in unconventional locations and venues; at The Victoria Tunnel in Ouseburn, Newcastle, on WW2 drama “Hitler’s Headquarters” and their gruesome exploration of the Witches of Newcastle, performed at Newcastle’s Castle Keep in Lee Mattinson’s “WYTCH”.

“What happens to a place that is defined by its heritage and industry, when those are taken away from it?”

Statement Regarding Ishy Din: After a great deal of thought and discussion, Twenty Seven have decided to part company with Ishy Din, with regards to our upcoming project, “Steel and Iron”. This decision was made before Covid 19, and we have been working since then to install a new creative team to help get this project to where we envisage it. We would like to take this time to thank Ishy for his dedication and hard work, but it is time we take a new direction, respectively. In the coming weeks, we will be meeting with our new “team”, and will endeavour to bring you something very soon. Thank you for your constant support and encouragement, and we wish Ishy all the best in his future endeavours.

Update: We are delighted to welcome our new script writer, John Hoggarth!


“Its well known that Middlesbrough is a place that too often gets misrepresented in the media, so we are looking to build an optimistic story, filled with great songs, lots of laughs and a bunch of unforgettable characters”

John was born and brought up in Whitby, North Yorkshire. He worked as an actor for several years before expanding his work to include writing and directing.

In 2003 he became joint artistic director of the National Youth Theatre and for several years combined the artistic directorship of the NYT with a prolific writing career. He moved on from the NYT in 2008 and in recent years has had his writing produced for television, radio and the stage.

John has developed a reputation for developing burgeoning comedy talent and has seen collaborations lead to Perrier and Edinburgh Comedy Award nominations, and the winning of both ‘So Think You’re Funny?”  and the BBC new talent award. John co-wrote and directed the sketch show The Ginge, The Geordie and The Geek which had sell out runs at three consecutive Edinburgh Festivals and was commissioned by BBC2 for a six episode series where John was writer and creative producer.

He is currently co-director of The North Wall Arts Centre in Oxford.  In 2018 he directed Monica Dolan in the The B*easts, the show transferred for an extended run at The Bush Theatre London and was eventually nominated at the 2018 Olivier Awards for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre.

“I’m really thrilled to be working as part of the creative team behind Steel and Iron, and we look to shine a light on Middlesbrough’s heritage, and champion its future”