The cast of the Mayflower’s Fisherman’s Friends explore Southampton’s SS Shieldhall

The cast of the Mayflower’s Fisherman’s Friends explore Southampton’s SS Shieldhall

words: Martin Brisland. pictures: Peter Nicholson.

Cast members from Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical, currently on stage at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre, visited the SS Shieldhall this week, while they are in the city.

The ship was built in the early 1950s and is the last remaining seaworthy vessel of its kind. It is at 110 Berth by the King George V Graving Dock where Cunard’s Queen Mary once underwent repairs. 

The cast of Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical. Photos: Peter Nicholson.

I had the chance to meet Robert Duncan and PetGallagher two highly experienced actors from the cast. Pete has had long runs in Buddy and Jesus Christ Superstar. Fisherman’s Friends is based on the story of a group of Cornish working fishermen who for years sang sea shanties on The Platt waterfront at Port Isaac to raise money for charity. In 2010 they signed a major record deal and became the first traditional folk act to have a UK top ten album.

Pete said: “People relate to the story of these fishermen because it is real and honest and most of all great fun. “

They both felt the show’s success was down to the real and honest values it embodies such as  tradition, friendship and community. 

Robert, a proud Cornishman in real life, has a long list of stage and television roles including as Gus in the hit Channel 4 comedy show from the 1990’ Drop the Dead Donkey. 

Robert highlighted the problem of people with second homes in Cornwall that stay empty for much of the year while locals struggle to find housing. He felt that the musical “helps Cornwall, which has its own distinctive character, to become better understood.” 

Fisherman’s Friends is at the Mayflower until 18th February. Tickets via or 02380 711811

The sailing season for the Shieldhall is late May to early September. For more information visit:


For a review of Fisherman’s Friends: the musical, click the link below:

Review: Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – February 15


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