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After a popular tour of the UK and North America, Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical returns to Hall for Cornwall this April, marking 18 months since the inaugural performance which launched the new Cornwall Playhouse!

Produced by Cornwall Playhouse Productions and ROYO, this rags-to-riches story of friendship, community and music features a reworked and punchier script that has delighted audiences around the world since its development run in 2021. It’s a heart-warming tale for our times, a triumph of Cornish spirit, filled with hope, joy, and a celebration of how the power of singing can help to bring people together. It’s a heart-warming tale for our times, a triumph of Cornish spirit, filled with hope, joy, and a celebration of how the power of singing can help to bring people together.


Director James Grieve looks back on the story of these humble friends: 'Their journey began when they stepped out on The Platt at Port Isaac to sing a few songs to raise a few quid for a lifeboat. A music producer on holiday was bewitched by the striking sound of these raw acapella voices underscored by the sea lapping against the shore. They signed to Island Records and their debut album went gold and entered the album chart at number 9.'


The real Fisherman's Friends join the red carpet on opening night

Following our renovation, this feel-good musical smashed box office records when it opened, playing to nearly 21,000 people who flocked to see the show and our new theatre. With two young producers at the helm making their professional debut, the first tour was a landmark moment for Cornwall. Since then, the musical has crossed the Tamar and headed north, playing to dozens of towns and cities across the UK, and even sailing into Canada last Christmas!

‘Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends are unlikely all-conquerors. A group of lifelong friends who started singing together at school and ended up on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.’

- Director James Grieve


This year’s production has been reinvented with an all-star cast, including Parisa Shahmir (MAMMA MIA! Here We Go Again) and Dan Buckley (Sweeney Todd) reprising their roles from the original production, James Gaddas (Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Dracula), Jason Langley (War Horse, Casualty) and Cornish celebrities Robert Duncan (Agatha Christie's Witness for the Prosecution) from St Austell, and Susan Penhaligon, who grew up in St Ives and Falmouth.

After beginning her life in Cornwall, Susan has toured the world with her career, starring in Bouquet of Barbed Wire, A Fine Romance, Dracula, Under Milk Wood, Emmerdale and more. Susan’s role as Maggie in Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical marks her return home to the Cornish stage.

‘Cornwall to me is a sense of belonging; a sense of identity.’

- Susan Penhaligon

Julian Boast, CEO of Hall for Cornwall commented: ‘When we dreamed of a new theatre for Cornwall, we hoped for magical pin-drop moments that would captivate audiences, and with this show we were lucky enough to manage that right at the start of our journey. Thinking back to that opening week, the atmosphere was palpable as the audience entered the brand-new Cornwall Playhouse and embarked on this proudly-Cornish  journey with us. I’m so pleased at the prospect of bringing those spine-tingling moments to new audiences, and welcoming back those who were captivated first time round.’


Susan Penhaligon stars in the musical

Jon Cleave, one of the founding members of the original Fisherman’s Friends band, appeared on BBC Breakfast to talk about the musical.

‘We love the musical and the way they do it – it's fantastic. We’ve seen it four or five times! It’s an absolute joy to see the way our story is portrayed, and everyone comes out of the theatre feeling made up and all fuzzy afterwards.’

- Jon Cleave, member of the original Fisherman's Friends


Jon Cleave sporting his iconic moustache on opening night!

He then went on to reminisce on the opening night, where the original band performed a shanty to the audience: ‘Hall for Cornwall was being re-opened after being refitted, and that was the first night of the musical, and it was fantastic. And of course, being full of Cornish people who can’t stop singing, they were singing along to the whole thing and waving their Cornish flags, and it was a fantastic evening... Cornwall has a massive singing tradition, and everyone in Cornwall takes part in that and pride in that.’


The original cast take a bow to a standing ovation

The real Fisherman’s Friends have confirmed that they are coming along to see the musical on opening night (Tuesday 11th April), which promises to be a sensational evening.

The final performance will be dedicated to Hall for Cornwall trustee, John Pollard, who sadly passed away earlier this year. John worked closely with Hall for Cornwall for five dedicated years, displaying a true passion for the transformative power of arts and culture.

Fisherman’s Friends the Musical runs from TUE 11 – SAT 22 APR 2023.

You can find out more about the musical and purchase tickets here.


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