Stunning artwork guitar to feature in Mick Ronson show

Hull engineer Paul Deighton has created an artwork guitar inspired by rock legend Mick Ronson. Crafted from aluminium sheets, the guitar will be a star feature in Turn and Face the Strange – the Mick Ronson Story at Hull New Theatre in December.

Paul Deighton

Paul Deighton was inspired to create the guitar after reading books by Woody Woodmansey, John Cambridge and the stage show’s co-writers Garry Burnett and Rupert Creed, who all document the Hull Spiders from Mars connection with David Bowie. Having visited the Mick Ronson guitar sculpture in East Park, Paul was determined to employ his engineering skills learnt at Bae Systems in Brough:

“My inner voice suggested a full-size guitar that is based on the sculpture but made from aluminium alone. I intuitively knew that this guitar would also have the ability to be played. This project took round 500 hours to complete between February and July 2023. Janis Skodins, the designer of the sculpture, and Campbell Engineering, the manufacturer, have both given me free rein to take their individual skills to a different level and I thank both of them for this opportunity. I also thank the authors of the respective books, as each book in turn triggered the next step of this incredible journey.”

The artwork guitar is a functioning instrument and will not only be on display in the theatre foyer but will be played onstage by the show’s musical director and lead guitarist, Keith ‘Ched’ Cheesman.

Ched said: “On first viewing of Paul’s guitar I was immediately taken back by three different aspects of its creation. First the aesthetic art – it looks stunning. Then trying to take in the time and dedication involved in the hand-tooled engineering. Then being amazed that though Paul is not a guitarist or musician of any kind, he got the technical aspects so correct that this work of art and mechanical engineering is also a viable musical instrument. It is natural that the guitar should be involved in Turn and Face the Strange, as like the show itself it is real evidence that despite Mick’s untimely death and therefore no musical output from him for over thirty years, his inspiration lives on.”

Garry Burnett, co-writer of the stage show, commented: “Turn and Dace the Strange was first performed in 2017, the year of Hull City of Culture and also the year that the extraordinary memorial guitar sculpture dedicated to Mick Ronson was unveiled. East Park has since become a place of pilgrimage for Ronson devotees and the guitar and its plinth come to symbolise his dazzling stage presence by being eye-catching, breathtaking and sparklingly unique. To now have a playable guitar inspired by the sculpture, on which some of his greatest guitar riffs will be played live, will supply further emotional currency to this highly moving symbol of Mick Ronson’s legacy.”

For Paul Deighton, the guitar expresses not only the skill and craft of his engineering background, but something deeper: “Reading Mick’s story really cemented my understanding of the effect he had, not just on Bowie’s sound but many others. I feel this was why I felt so much passion for him and his legacy, which became the sole motivating force behind the project.”

You can see and hear this amazing artwork guitar at Hull New Theatre on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 December when the cult-hit stage show Turn and Face the Strange is performed. The stellar line-up of talent includes rock musicians who played with Mick Ronson and David Bowie, including Keith ‘Ched’ Cheesman (The Rats), John Cambridge (The Rats & The Hype) and John Bentley (Squeeze), alongside Kristian Eastwood, Bobby Joyce, Phil Keech and Annabel Etheridge. With a string quartet of classically trained musicians Turn and Face the Strange tells the real story of the Hull Spider who rocked the music world.

Written by Garry Burnett and ‘Made in Hull’ writer Rupert Creed, the show features a vivid stage design by Ed Ullyart, powerful film content by Anna Bean, and stunning lighting by Jason Addison.

Tickets for the show are going fast and previous runs have always sold out. Tickets can be booked via Hull box office on 01482 300306 and online at

You can find out more about the show at and