A FORMER footballer has penned an opera and compiled a dream team of North-East students in a bid to bring it to the stage.

Roger Wicks, who made his name in the North-East as a midfielder for Darlington FC in the 1980s, is the brains behind rock opera Tyneside Rain.

Mr Wicks, 57, was inspired by his own childhood to create the story of two Tyneside brothers growing up in the late 1960s.

The so-called “revenge Western” features original rock music and scripts from Mr Wicks and his collaborator, Darlington-based musician Syd Columbine.

The duo is now working with students from across the region to develop the production.

Music students at Gateshead College are currently recording several songs from the opera as part of their studies while former Hurworth School pupil Jodie Nicholson and Darlington teenager Laura Morrison have also contributed to the soundtrack.

Degree students at Gateshead’s Academy of Music and Sound recently entertained crowds at The Cluny in Newcastle with a selection of songs from the production.

Mr Wicks, from Darlington, said: “This is not me trying to be Gazza doing Fog on the Tyne. I always wanted to write a story following two boys growing up in the carefree times of the 1960s into the austere times of the early 1970s.

“It sounds crazy but I’d love to see it performed on both stage and screen and it’s been brilliant working with the students, who have thrown in a lot of their own creativity.

“It’s really nice to hear my idea coming together.”

The rock opera is expected to be performance ready within a year.

For more information, visit facebook.com/tynesiderain