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News: Newcastle Theatre Royal Announces Appointment of New Chief Executive

Newcastle Theatre Royal Announces Appointment of New Chief Executive

Newcastle Theatre Royal Trust has announced the appointment of a new Chief Executive following a nationwide search.

Marianne Locatori will join the prestigious Grey Street theatre from Theatre Royal Plymouth - where she is currently Director of Strategic Projects – at the beginning of October and will succeed Philip Bernays who is retiring after 16 years at the helm.

Marianne Locatori

During her time at Theatre Royal Plymouth, Ms Locatori has implemented a number of innovative commercial and artistic strategies, which - alongside responsibility for programming a broad spectrum of high calibre productions - have been instrumental in firmly establishing the theatre as one of the most prominent regional venues in the country.

A committed advocate of regional theatre, Ms Locatori is passionate about the important role that arts and culture plays in generating positive change and community engagement.

Prior to joining Theatre Royal Plymouth in 2003, she spent a number of years at Ambassador Theatre Group. Earlier this year she was appointed as a Director of the Dance Consortium, a group of UK theatres dedicated to bringing the best of contemporary dance to audiences across the country.

Marianne Locatori said: “Newcastle Theatre Royal is one of the most highly regarded theatres in the country; it is an organisation that I have long admired and I am delighted to be appointed as Chief Executive. It will be a privilege to lead this successful and important cultural organisation in what is such a fantastic and vibrant city. I’m very much looking forward to working with the board, the team and the wider community and developing a vision that takes the organisation to its next stage of success.”

Nick Swales, Chair of the Board of Newcastle Theatre Royal Trust added: “We are delighted to have someone with Marianne’s impressive track record in regional theatre on board; she brings a wealth of valuable experience, which, alongside with her drive, passion and determination makes her absolutely the right person to take Newcastle Theatre Royal forward and deliver upon our strategic ambitions.”

Philip Bernays joined Newcastle Theatre Royal in 2005 and in early 2020 announced his plans to retire later that same year. As a result of the unprecedented challenges facing the arts and culture sector due to COVID-19, he subsequently delayed his plans to step down in order to continue to lead the organisation as it focused on managing the crisis. Philip will leave at the end of September.

Nick Swales added: “This has been an extremely challenging time for all those within the arts and culture sector and we are tremendously grateful to Philip for his ongoing support and leadership  during this extraordinary period.”

Newcastle Theatre Royal is a pioneer of arts and culture in the North East. One of only nine Grade 1 listed theatres in the country, it is home to the very best in touring theatre bringing world class musicals, drama, dance, ballet, comedy and opera performances to the region as well as staging the finest pantomime in the country.


Preview: Julie Grady Thomas: Bad Pancake - Online

 Julie Grady Thomas' debut solo hour, Bad Pancake to be livestreamed with Felt Nowt


Julie Grady Thomas: Bad Pancake

A livestream comedy show from her house to yours

Friday 7th May - 9:30pm

£5 tickets


The Covid-Safe Houseparty You Didn’t Know You Needed!


Adopted Geordie Julie Grady Thomas (BBC Radio 4extra; ElleUK) performs her hotly anticipated, first-ever solo show, Bad Pancake, with Felt Nowt. And it’s streaming live straight from her house to yours.

“This show was supposed to go to Edinburgh last year,” says Julie, “but everything has been reworked so it’s specifically engaging for a zoom audience.” What does that mean? “Think of it as a houseparty. You are virtually coming into my space, my home, so I’m going to show you some good, old fashioned, American hospitality.” There will be cocktails, party games, and a staple of any American shindig – the house tour.

Even though the conduit has changed, the soul of the show is much the same. This uplifting, silly, debut hour still explores failure and forgiveness—and perhaps more pertinent than ever—isolation and community.

There is a trigger warning, however, that includes domestic violence. In 2009, Julie was in a toxic relationship when her now ex tried to kill her. “But—spoiler alert—it didn't work out for him,” she reassures. “It's not about him or revenge, but, rather the isolation we tend to put ourselves in because of the tremendous pressure we all feel to obscure our mistakes and bury our shame.”

Affably charming, Julie has a host of experience on the circuit, and her captivating storytelling will take you places other comics can’t. She is most certainly one to watch as she beguiles in this wonderfully bonkers debut solo show.

The show starts at 9:30pm, over Zoom, on Friday, May 7th. Tickets are £5 from


Preview: Climate Change Catastrophe!

Climate Change Catastrophe!


Ø A new show about climate change, made by children, for grown-ups

Ø Free six part series starts 12 May 2021


Liam Scarth and Hannah Goudie-Hunter in Climate Change Catastrophe!
Photo: Lindsay Duncanson

Primary school children are working with Newcastle University climate scientists and engineers, singer-songwriter Katie Doherty and Cap-a-Pie theatre company on a new show about one of the biggest challenges of our time – climate change.

Liam Scarth & Hannah Goudie-Hunter
Photo: Lindsay Duncanson
Climate Change Catastrophe! is about what children think about climate change – their hopes, fears and ideas for the future. The result is a journey into the mind of an eight-year-old that will really make you think.

Liam Scarth & Hannah Goudie-Hunter
Photo: Lindsay Duncanson
Created in partnership with Newcastle University’s School of Engineering, the show offers inspiring perspectives on climate change from primary school children, with help from climate scientists and engineers, and will be performed by professional actors for an audience of all ages.

Liam Scarth & Hannah Goudie-Hunter
Photo: Lindsay Duncanson
Hayley Fowler, Professor of Climate Change Impacts at Newcastle University, said, "It's important that we all understand more about the climate change emergency and what we can do about it. It is refreshing to see this through the eyes of children, and to hear about their inventive solutions. We all need to wake up to what our children already know – a climate catastrophe is coming. This show effortlessly blends the enthusiasm and unconstrained ideas of youth with the science and engineering needed to build them. Hopefully the next generation will inspire us to reach for Net Zero, to make changes to our lifestyles to benefit us all, and leave a better world for them to inherit.”

Liam Scarth
Photo: Lindsay Duncanson

Cap-a-Pie has built a reputation for creative collaborations with universities and schools, working with academics and experts alongside their local communities. For Climate Change Catastrophe! the team has worked with hundreds of school children across the North of England - in classrooms before the pandemic, and remotely during lockdown, supporting teachers to deliver homeschooling and creative activities. Artistic Director Brad McCormick explains, "For some time now, we’ve wanted to do a project around climate change. It!s one of the biggest issues of our time and will affect us all, but it’s the younger generation who will bear the brunt so we felt it would be interesting and useful to get their perspectives and to broaden their understanding of climate science and engineering solutions from people with real expertise. Another reason we wanted to work with school children was to tap into their imagination and sense of logic - their input was invaluable and has really brought the show to life, as well as helping them to learn more about climate change and how they can make a difference.” 

Schools co-ordinator Ree Collins with Hotspur Primary children
Photo: Mark Savage

Alistair Ford of Newcastle University’s School of Engineering has worked on climate change research for over a decade, particularly looking at how our cities might change to reduce their carbon footprint and make themselves more resilient to extreme weather. Alistair said, “I’m really excited to be working with Cap-a-Pie on this project. It’s completely different to my day job and working with 8-year-olds will be a complete contrast to writing computer models for local and national governments.

Climate Scientist Ali Ford from Newcastle University with Hotspur Primary school children
Photo: Mark Savage
Thinking about making a complex subject like climate change accessible to school kids is a great experience, making me think differently about the work I do.”

Director Brad McCormick is joined by designer Verity Quinn and lighting designer Dan Saggars who both worked on the Young Vic’s tour of Seiriol Davies’ critically acclaimed show, How To Win Against History. Original music is by award-winning North East singer-songwriter Katie Doherty, who regularly composes for theatre companies including Northern Stage and Open Clasp. The cast are Hannah Goudie (The Emperor!s New Clothes/Northern Stage & Kitchen Zoo) and Liam Scarth, who works with Mortal Fools and Lawnmowers Independent Theatre Company with a guest performance from rapper Kema Kay (I, Daniel Blake).

Climate Change Catastrophe! will be available as a free six part series on YouTube from 12 May 2021. An accompanying education pack and creative activities will also be available. To find out more visit


Cast and creatives

Performed by Hannah Goudie and Liam Scarth

Guest performance by Kema Kay

Directed by Brad McCormick

Music by Katie Doherty

Set & Costume Design by Verity Quinn

Lighting Design by Dan Saggars

Production and Stage Management by Rachel Glover

Film and editing by Lindsay Duncanson

Sound Recording by Marek Gabrysch

Produced by Katy Vanden

Devised by the company in collaboration with Year 4 students and Dr Ali Ford and team at Newcastle University

School Engagement Liaison by Ree Collins


News: Newcastle's Tyne Theatre & Opera House highlight ways to support them following funding decision

Newcastle's Tyne Theatre & Opera House highlight ways to support them following funding decision

Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre and Opera House recently received the disappointing news that their application for the second round of Culture Recovery Funding was unsuccessful. A statement released from the Theatre following the funding decision said “We're pleased to see the news of many deserving recipients of the 2nd round of Culture Recovery Funding today. Unfortunately, the Tyne Theatre and Opera House's application for the funding to cover crucial outgoings while our doors remain closed, was unsuccessful on this occasion.”

The Government’s Culture Recovery Fund has seen venues, theatres, museums and cultural organisations receive grants and loans to help cover costs to ensure their survival whilst they have been unable to operate during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Today, the Theatre has made an announcement pointing to the different ways people can choose to support the Theatre whilst their doors remain closed. There is a variety of ways that you can choose to help the independent venue, in addition to buying tickets for upcoming shows.  

You can follow the Tyne Theatre and Opera House on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as they continue with their campaign to highlight ways to support the venue.

These include joining their membership club, which gets you pre-sale access to tickets and other perks or you can name a seat in their auditorium alongside other theatre lovers and supporters (including local comedians Sarah Millican, Chris Ramsey, and Carl Hutchinson)! You can also donate directly to the Theatre, take a tour or, as a business, advertise with them.

Theatre Director Joanne Johnson says: “We’re so immensely grateful to everyone who has supported us over the last year which has been the most difficult we’ve faced since we became an independent venue in 2015. Since the pandemic hit the UK last year, we have done our best to adapt and overcome all the challenges thrown our way. Although we were disappointed that the Theatre’s application for the second round of CRF funding was unsuccessful, it’s just another obstacle that I know our team can overcome with the support of our incredible audiences.”

For full details on the different ways you can support the
Tyne Theatre and Opera House, please see their website:


News: Stars come out to launch ‘Steel And Iron’ as Teesside International airport set to host premiere


Stars come out to launch ‘Steel And Iron’ as Teesside International airport set to host premiere

A raft of local celebrities including Chris Kamara, Steph McGovern and Mark Benton have helped Teesside International and Twenty Seven Productions announce a new play – with the premiere set to be held at the airport.

Teesside Airport has entered into a partnership with the production company over the show “Steel and Iron”, which also features contributions from a wealth of local talent.

Top-ten charting Middlesbrough singer-songwriter Alistair Griffin has composed the music and songs for the piece, with brother and sister duo Helen and Joe Hammill, AKA Cattle and Cane, and Maximo Park’s Paul Smith also adding their skills.

Based on a concept by Middlesbrough-born producer Katie Gibson and written by John Hoggarth, it follows a motley crew of people all from different backgrounds but united by Middlesbrough, and asks: “What happens to a place that is defined by its heritage and industry, when those are taken away from it?”.

Writer John Hoggarth

Teesside International’s partnership with the company will also see Alistair compose a song specifically for the airport to help it market its activities and raise its profile even further locally, nationally and globally.

Phil Forster, Interim Managing Director of Teesside Airport, said: “Although Steel and Iron has been in the pipeline for a while, I don’t think it could be coming at a better time for our airport or our region.

“We are celebrating our 80th birthday with an exhibition as we take forward massive redevelopment work, while our history of iron and steelmaking is being talked about again with the regeneration of the Teesworks site. People are thinking more than ever about our past, and how that’s going to shape future of the Tees Valley and all this makes Katie’s play a brilliant fit.

“It shows Teesside international is once again thinking outside of the box to not just give great quality flights to a growing number of worldwide destinations but to support our area and help shout about it in other ways. I can’t wait to see the finished play and hear Alistair’s song, which will surely stick in the hearts and minds of our local people.”

Producer Katie Gibson said: “This production has been brewing since 2016 but unfortunately, like most things, it recently fell victim to the dreaded Covid-19 which put the brakes on but now we’re back and ready to roll.

Producer Katie Gibson
“We’ve drafted in a host of brilliant people from across our area, including some of the brightest musical talents, to help us tell our story, connect with our audience and challenge preconceptions around Middlesbrough and regional theatre. I’m so excited to finally be bringing our vision to the stage, with a previous sneak peek winning rave reviews.

“Like everyone from around here, I’m proud to see our airport turning a corner and I know it will be one of the keys to our future. I’m delighted to be working with Phil and the team to premiere our show and give them a memorable and fitting song in the process!”

Composer Alistair Griffin
Coronavirus restrictions permitting, a pre-launch show will take place at the airport on 5 August, ahead of its run at Middlesbrough Town Hall the following week, with more information coming soon.


Preview: Simon Amstell – Spirit Hole at Newcastle Tyne Theatre


Simon Amstell brings new stand-up tour to Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre


Simon Amstell – Spirit Hole

Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House

Saturday 2nd October 2021


The Tyne Theatre and Opera House have announced that comedian, director, writer and tv presenter Simon Amstell is bringing his new stand-up show to their stage on Saturday 2nd October 2021.

‘Spirit Hole’ is Amstell’s first stand-up tour since the release of internationally acclaimed feature film – ‘Benjamin’ and Netflix Special ‘Set Free’. The tour covers an impressive 39 dates across England and Wales.

‘Spirit Hole’ is described as a blissful, spiritual, sensational exploration of love, sex, shame, mushrooms and more. If you yearn for a night of unprecedented joy and laughter book now and avoid regret.

Theatre Director Joanne Johnson says: “We can’t wait to have Simon Amstell return to the Theatre with his new show! Having seen his continued success over previous tours, we’re expecting this to be a popular show amongst comedy fans this Autumn.“

Tickets for Simon Amstell: Spirit Hole
go on sale Thursday 15th March 2021 at 10am and can be purchased from #Ad

News: Newcastle Theatre Royal Announces Update To 2021/2022 Pantomime

Newcastle Theatre Royal Announces Update To 2021/2022 Pantomime

As lockdown starts to ease, Newcastle Theatre Royal is preparing to welcome audiences back, including for the North East’s biggest pantomime. In a change to advertised plans, the theatre will now stage the fairest pantomime in the land this Christmas, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, starring Danny Adams, Clive Webb, Chris Hayward and introducing Joe McElderry.

Having initially confirmed that Humpty Dumpty would be performed for the first time in half a century during the 2020/21 festive season, restrictions made it impossible for the annual extravaganza to go ahead resulting in performances being rescheduled to this year. However, as additional lockdowns have caused further delays to preparing for the production, the decision has now been made to bring back one of the theatre’s most popular pantomime titles, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, for the 2021/2022 season.

Michael Harrison, producer and director of the Newcastle Theatre Royal pantomime said: “Whilst myself and the creative team have been working on Humpty Dumpty – which is a brand new title - for over a year, and are hugely excited about the script and designs, the pandemic has seriously delayed our ability to access workshops and start building an entirely new show from scratch. To make sure it’s as magical on the stage as it is on paper, we’ve therefore taken the decision to keep this title for a future season. Now for 2021, we are thrilled to be bringing you Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Featuring a brand-new script the panto will be full of all the fun, laughter and surprises that audiences have come to love and expect from a Newcastle Theatre Royal pantomime and will star Danny Adams as Muddles, Clive Webb as The Henchman, Chris Hayward as The Wicked Queen and Joe McElderry as The Man in the Mirror.

Existing ticket holders have been contacted by the theatre. No action is needed as all previous bookings for Humpty Dumpty remain valid and will be automatically transferred to the new show for the same date and seats as the original booking. 

Philip Bernays, Chief Executive of Newcastle Theatre Royal added: “This has not been an easy decision to make as we have all been extremely excited about the prospect of bringing this rarely-performed title to our stage. However, without the benefit of our own magic mirror to see into the future, we have had to make this very necessary change now to ensure that we are in the best possible position to entertain our audiences with the most incredible pantomime this festive season. 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was last performed on our stage during the 2014/2015 season and is one of our most popular pantomimes ever. We know that once again the team will light up the stage and give our audiences the spectacular show that they so richly deserve.”


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will play Tue 23 Nov 2021 – Sun 9 Jan 2022. Tickets are on sale now with prices starting from £14.50 and can be purchased at