GYPSY Queen, award-winning writer Rob Ward’s boxing play, packs a punch at the York Theatre Royal Studio on February 13 on its third tour.

Exploring LGBTQ+ visibility in sport, faith and sexuality and the notion of masculinity, Ward tells the love story of two men who find each other in the most unlikely world: professional boxing.

Played by Ward, George O’Connell is a bare-knuckle fighter from a traveller family. A hero to his people and self-proclaimed Gypsy King, George enters the professional boxing ring, putting him on a collision course with his roots, his fears and his very identity.

In the opposite corner is Dane "The Pain" Samson, the young pretender and son of a boxing legend, who is fighting his own battles, leading to a tragedy that neither man can predict.

"With the real challenge taking place outside the ring, can two men raised to fight ever learn to love?" asks Ward, who will be joined in York by John Askew, who played Samson at last summer's Edinburgh Fringe and on the 2018 tour.

Askew will be sharing performances on the 2019 itinerary with Ryan Clayton, the original Samson on the 2017 debut tour, as Gypsy Queen brings humour, heart and soul to its raw subject matter.

Presented by Emmerson and Ward Productions, in association with Manchester's Hope Theatre Company, Ward's 75-minute play with no time for an interval is directed by Adam Zane. Tickets for next month's 7.45pm performance are on sale at £10 on 01904 623568 or at

On January 27, incidentally, an immersive performance will be staged inside a boxing ring at the Moss Side Fire Station Boxing Club in Manchester.