Play immortalises rock legend

Ian Curtis of Joy Division
Ian Curtis of Joy Division

IAN Curtis was just 23 when, battling depression and an unhappy domestic life, he took his own life on the cusp of rock immortality.

The Joy Division lead singer and the band were due to embark on a major US tour the following day.

Their only chart hit Love Will Tear Us Apart was recorded just weeks before his death and he had been long buried by the time the music video - the only one they ever made - made its debut on TV.

Now a Wigan playwright, actor and artist is all set to tell the explosive story of burned-out creative genius Curtis.

New Dawn Fades: The Story of Joy Division is a much-awaited part of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival in July. Fittingly its premiere will be a benefit for mental health charity MIND on July 15 - which would have been Curtis’s birthday.

Brian, who grew up in Worsley Hall, never had the privilege of seeing the band live. But he is in awe of their independent “DIY” swagger and astounding self-confidence.

He said: “After seeing The Sex Pistols in Manchester in 1976, they were inspired to make something of themselves from scratch and immediately bought guitars and drums and taught themselves to play at home. From a working class background where they were regarded as simple factory fodder, they united in a desire to create and to express themselves.

“Through sheer hard work and determination, they created a unique sound that grew from the primal angry scream of punk into a poetic, otherworldly majesty that united original music with enigmatic and timeless lyrics. They did not follow anybody and refused to conform to the rules. They stayed true to their roots.”

Michael Whittaker and Natalie-Marie Perry play Ian and Debbie Curtis. And it follows on from his new stage adaptation of cult 1980s sci-fi blockbuster, Blade Runner which had a sell-out run at The Lass O’Gowrie in Manchester last month and in which he played the character, Leon. The production runs from July 15 to 17 at The Lass O’Gowrie, Charles Street, Manchester with performances at 7.30pm and 9.30pm. Tickets go on sale soon at