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Colin Milburn play comes to Emirates Old Trafford

Colin Milburn play comes to Emirates Old Trafford

A new play on the tragic decline of former England batsman Colin Milburn will visit all 18 county cricket clubs in 24 days in November, including Emirates Old Trafford. 

‘When the Eye Has Gone’ is a one man show that has been written by James Graham-Brown, the former Kent and Derbyshire all-rounder turned playwright, and is being produced by Live Wire/Roughhouse Theatre in association with the Professional Cricketers’ Association.

The play is set in the North Briton pub in Newton Aycliffe in County Durham on February 28 1990, the last day of Milburn’s life during his cabaret performance as ‘Jolly Ollie’, the character he had developed to conceal his insecurities and suffering.

Milburn, who was brilliant career was cut short by the loss of the sight in his left eye in a car accident in May 1969, died in the North Briton car park aged 48 after he drifted into chronic alcoholism.

All county clubs have agreed to support the PCA in putting on the play around the country to help current players appreciate the importance of planning for life after cricket.

“Health and wellbeing is a very broad area and we endeavour to cover as many areas as possible,” said Jason Ratcliffe, PCA Assistant Chief Executive.

“This new, exciting initiative focuses on what can happen when a playing career suddenly ends and a player struggles with a difficult transition.

“Recent research from our Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP) shows that working at something during a career can enhance performance but also help with a smooth transition, whenever it comes.

“Ollie’s story puts this into sharp focus and will hopefully enforce our PDWP and the associated messaging to be proactive with your career on and off the pitch. We’re very thankful to James for creating the unique play and look forward to rolling it out around the counties.”

‘When the Eye Has Gone’, which is also supported by the Arts Council, will begin its nationwide tour at Somerset’s Taunton headquarters on November 1 and will visit all 18 county grounds before the final performance at Northamptonshire’s Wantage Road, Milburn’s old home ground, on November 24.

Auditions for the role of Milburn have just taken place and the identity of the actor who will play the role of the tragic cricketer will be announced shortly.

Graham-Brown, who writes under the name Dougie Blaxland, has written 32 plays, 13 of which have been published by New Theatre Publications, and 14 have been produced in professional theatre.

When the Eye Has Gone’ is the PCA’s 2016 initiative to promote mental health and wellbeing and is part of the Mind Matters series. Further details of the PCA Mental Health Charter at: http://www.thepca.co.uk/health-and-wellbeing.html


November 2016. 1 Somerset (The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton), 2 Gloucestershire CCC (The Brightside Ground, Bristol), 3 Glamorgan (The SSE SWALEC, Cardiff), 4 Worcestershire (New Road, Worcester), 7 Warwickshire (Edgbaston), 8 Lancashire (Emirates Old Trafford), 9 Derbyshire (The 3aaa County Ground, Derby - TBC), 10 Yorkshire (Headingley Carnegie), 11 Durham (Emirates Riverside, Chester-le-Street), 14 Essex (The Essex County Ground, Chelmsford), 15 Kent (The Spitfire Ground, Canterbury), 16 Sussex (The 1st Central County Ground, Hove), 17 Surrey (The Kia Oval), 18 Middlesex (Lord’s), 21 Hampshire (Ageas Bowl), 22 Leicestershire (Fischer County Ground, Leicester), 23 Nottinghamshire (Trent Bridge Inn, Nottingham), 24 Northamptonshire (County Ground, Northampton).

Tickets cost £10 for adults and £8 for concessions. Click here to book your tickets.

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