Echoes of Tragedy: Powerful Play Marks Hillsborough Anniversary with Poignant Tribute


This was a highly emotive, supercharged play which was strategically performed three days before the 35th anniversary of that fateful day at Hillsborough, when 97 innocent football fans lost their lives in a tragedy that could and should have been avoided.

Sensitively written and directed by Tom Cain, this powerful play is post-tragedy, depicting the ongoing trauma of PTSD that the central characters experienced. Both characters, Steve (Leslie Longley) and John (Colin Killbride), are now middle-aged men who dealt with the travesty differently. Survivors’ guilt underpins the whole play, and at points, this was exceptionally harrowing to watch, especially the scenes of attempted suicide and the heart-breaking realisation that by ‘sheer coincidence,’ a grieving family came face-to-face with the adult who desperately tried ‘in vain’ to save their young son’s life. It was poignant, raw, and exceptionally well-written, demonstrating the ongoing and often overwhelming struggle to continue to ‘function’ rather than ‘live’ on a daily basis. Made all the more devastating when the whole world wrongly initially perceived your fans and you by association, to be at fault. Utterly distressing!

Stand-out performances were delivered by Sally (Lynne Fitzgerald) and Stuart (Graham Padden); however, the whole cast received a well-deserved standing ovation.

The Hillsborough Survivors Support Alliance were heavily involved in the authenticity of the play, collaborating extensively with Bill Elms Productions and Tom Cain. The atmosphere inside the auditorium was subdued, punctuated with extreme sadness as many of the audience appeared visually/audibly overcome with emotion during the ninety-minute production. Clearly, a significant proportion of the audience were either present at the match in Sheffield or lost a relative or friend who was there.

Signifying solidarity, a large proportion of the audience wore Liverpool Football Club T-shirts, hoodies, scarves, or caps, adding to their sense of support for the fallen. Additionally, underpinning the tragic realism, the names of the 97 souls appeared on the programme and advertising material; some family members held pictures of their loved ones during the performance.

Leaving the last word to the producer, Bill Elms, ‘This is a story that needs to be told to a new generation.’

Photo Credit: David Munn Photography

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