See Tickets


Preview BRB Beauty and the Beast at Sunderland Empire

Birmingham Royal Ballet
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast; Nao Sakuma as Belle and Iain Mackay as the Beast; Photo Roy Smiljanic

Sunderland Empire
Thursday 6 to Saturday 8 November 2014

Birmingham Royal Ballet, one of the world's leading classical ballet companies, is thrilled to return to Sunderland Empire, its home in the North East, from Thursday 6 to Saturday 8 November 2014. The internationally acclaimed and award-winning company will embark on Sunderland Empire with David Bintley's gothic fairytale Beauty and the Beast.

Elisha Willis as Belle
Photo Bill Cooper
Beauty and the Beast, a firm favourite for all the family, ballet aficionados and first-time attendees to a ballet, promises to delight audiences in Sunderland when it is performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Iain Mackay as the Beast and
Michael O'Hare as the Merchant
Photo Roy Smiljanic
This production of Beauty and the Beast, one of the most popular ballets in Birmingham Royal Ballet's repertoire, received its world premiere on 1 Dec= ember 2003 at the Company's home theatre, Birmingham Hippodrome. Created by David Bintley, Birmingham Royal Ballet's Director and widely recognised as one of Britain's finest choreographers, the production has gone from strength to strength in the eleven years since its creation. Now this story of passion and prejudice returns to Sunderland Empire for four performances only.

Beauty and the Beast
Artists of BirminghamRoyal Ballet
Photo Bill Cooper
Searching the country to salvage his lost fortune, a once-wealthy merchant seeks shelter in a mysterious castle, where invisible forces tend to his every need. The merchant's older daughters have demanded gifts of gold, jewels and fine clothes; the youngest, Belle, has asked for a single rose.

Chi Cao as the Beast and
Michael O'Hare as the Merchant
Photo Bill Cooper
But when the merchant plucks just one bloom from the garden of the castle he unleashes a fearsome Beast, who exacts a terrible forfeit: in return for the merchant's life, he must send his daughter Belle to live in the castle. As the dazzlingly beautiful Belle prepares to meet her beastly captor, she is about to discover for herself the meaning of true love.

Chi Cao as the Beast
Photo Bill Cooper
A beautiful girl, a hideous beast, a golden ballroom full of animals, two outrageously haughty sisters and a grumpy grandmother worthy of Roald Dahl, dance, prance and rage through the unfolding pages of Philip Prowse's stunning storybook set of forests and castles, whilst David Bintley's rich choreographic palette brings to life magical transformations, wild waltzes, soaring formations of birds and a relationship between Belle and the Beast that is at first terrifying, but ultimately serene and beautiful.

Marion Tait as the Grandmother
Photo Roy Smiljanic
Weaving some delightful new twists into this timeless fable, David Bintley's Beauty and the Beast is the classic family treat danced by some of the world's greatest dancers. With Philip Prowse's fairytale sets and amazing costumes, and Glenn Buhr's irresistibly melodic, sparkling and beautiful original score, played by members of the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, the orchestra of Birmingham Royal Ballet, this is an unforgettable evening of entertainment for all ages.

Tickets priced from £13 can be purchased in person from the Box Office on High Street West, Sunderland or from  £14.90 from the Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022* and online at *
*Booking fees apply to telephone and online sales.

Jonathan Payn as Monsieur Cochon
Photo Roy Smiljanic

Nao Sakuma as Belle
Iain Mackay as the Prince
Photo Roy Smiljanic


Preview: New Season at Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham

New Season at Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham
September – December 2014

Queen's Hall Arts has once again has a packed new season of the highest quality drama, live pop, classical, jazz and traditional music, exhibitions, ballet, film, and performances for children. And of course pantomime with Oddsocks’.

Artistic Director Geof Keys says “We’ve recently been successful in our application to Arts Council England to continue as a National Portfolio Organisation.  This award recognises our commitment to bringing high quality work,  and to supporting the emergence of the best and brightest talent in the region. With the support of the Arts Council and Northumberland County Council, and most importantly with your support, we are able to bring you some great experiences:-

·         Newly commissioned work from Tender Buttons in September, an in-house production of an Alan Ayckbourn ghost story in October, and newly commissioned children’s theatre from Puppetship in November.
·         A major new programme of digital work in our galleries kicking off with the magical Sprite Symphony in September.
·         Unlimited Theatre and Paper Birds bringing nationally acclaimed work to the Queen’s Hall as part of a major new consortium initiative.

And, of course, we will continue to bring trusted favourites that will warm up your evenings as the nights draw in - a great film club season, touring productions from Red Ladder and Reform Theatre, Théâtre Sans Frontières with Heaven Eyes, Ballet Cymru’s Beauty and the Beast, Nordic Fiddlers and many more top quality shows. And we’re all looking forward to Wind in the Willows at Christmas!”

Selected highlights of the new season at Hexham’s Queens Hall include…
Oddsocks The WInd In The Willows
  • Oddsocks Productions return at Christmas this year with their pantomime take on the classic children’s novel The Wind in the Willows. Join Mole, Ratty, Badger and Toad as they adventure along the riverbank…oh yes they do!

Pied Piper
  • A big offerring for little ones this season with the puppets of the Pied Piper, Gruffalo creators Tall Stories with Emily Brown & the Thing, Clydebuilt Puppets’ Rapunzel, Once in a Blue Moon from Wriggle Dance and QHA’s own production of In a Nutshell.

Thirsty from Paper Birds
  • Great Drama Offer: Buy 2 shows get 1 free in a Great Drama Offer. Choose from MONEY the game show (featuring £10,000 in real pound coins!), We’re Not Going Back from Red Ladder, David Almond’s Heaven Eyes from Hexham’s own Théâtre Sans Frontières, John Godber’s Bouncers, Thirsty from Paper Birds and Not About Heroes explores WW1 poets Wilfred Owen & Siegfried Sasson.

Haunting Julia
  • BITESIZE drama is a great way to enjoy great new short plays with great new food from the Little Angel Café. Watch out for Sounds and Guts from Tender Buttons and QHA’s own production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Haunting Julia.  A £12.50 ticket covers the show, accompanying food and a drink.

Sue Sweeney
  • BBC Radio Newcastle presenter and one of the north east’s favourite comedienne’s Sue Sweeney presents a night of rib tickling laughter when she’s Live and Unleashed.

  • Exhibitions at Queen's Hall Arts have a local flavour this season with exhibitions from Helen Pailing who has been Artist in residence at VARC in Tarset, and from photographer Iain Duncan who explores the ecosystem of lichen on Hadrian’s Wall. The venue will also host two new digital exhibitions; Sprite Symphony featuring musical fairies in jam jars and artist Lucy Pawlak who uses streaming technologies to create moving images and live performances.

The Simon & Garfunkel Story
  • The Simon & Garfunkel Story, Classic Clapton, Counterfeit Sixties and Buddy Holly & the Cricketers are appearing throughout the season with their own tributes to these legends.

Beauty & the Beast
  • In October sees the return of Young Opera Venture with their acclaimed production of Mozart’s great final masterpiece, the Magic Flute. In October Ballet Cymru arrive with their sparkling and refreshing ballet Beauty & the Beast.

  • Hexham Film Club is showing Nebraska in September, Plein Soleil (the original Talented Mr Ripley film) and the modern day Irish musical film Once. The season rounds off with two classic films from the 60s and 50s, Dr Zhivago and White Christmas.

  • There is a talk from local historian Stan Beckensall on the special places of Northumberland, a book launch from ex-SAS turned author Chris Ryan and a lecture by South African Rob Caskie on the Anglo- Zulu war (made famous by the Michael Caine film Zulu).

  • Add in performances from Hexham Amateur Stagec Society, Queen’s Hall Theatre Club with Blackadder Goes Forth, Paul Edis Sextet at Jazz in the Café and performances in the Hexham & District Music Society from Wu String Quartet, Aurora Wind Quintet and Renaissance … and much more, and what you get is another full and action packed season of the best in theatre and arts.

QHA Theatre Listings Sept - Dec 2014
Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Beaumont Street, Hexham, Northumberland. NE46 3LS
Box Office 01434 652477 or book online at


Sue Sweeney ‘Live and Unleashed’
Friday 12 September 7.30pm
The North East’s favourite comedienne; a non-stop, rib-tickling night of laughter with BBC Newcastle’s Sue Sweeney in her ‘Live and Unleashed’ stand-up comedy spectacular.
Tickets: £16.00 / £14.00 (OAPs / Friends)

Sounds & Guts
Wednesday 17 – Friday 19 September 8.00pm / Friday 19 September 2.00pm
The Island is home to one human being and a huge colony of sea birds. Tender Buttons will take you on a theatrical tour of The Island, through a labyrinth of archive film, field recordings and collected stories of solitude. Sounds & Guts is a playful tale about the fine line between being alone and being lonely.
Tickets: £12.50 (BITESIZE ticket includes food) / £7.50 (Play only)

The Simon & Garfunkel Story
Saturday 20 September 8.00pm
Using huge projection photos and original film footage, The Simon and Garfunkel Story features a full live band performing all the hits including Mrs Robinson, Cecilia, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Homeward Bound and many more.
Tickets: £16 / £14 (benefit conc / Friends / students)

MONEY the game show
Wednesday 24 – Thursday 25 September 7.30pm
Playing with £10,000 in real pound coins, you are invited to bet long, short and hedge, as Casino and Queenie challenge you to play a series of high stake games that demonstrate how the world’s economic system came to the brink of collapse.
Tickets: £12.00 / £10.00 (Friends / benefit conc) / £5.00 (student)
Pied Piper
Saturday 27 September 11.30am & 2.00pm
A puppet play for children aged 3 to 7 and their families. When the Pied Piper plays his flute the rats run, the greedy mayor rubs his hands and the children dance... a humorous and irresistible one person show combining a skilful mix of puppetry, foot-tapping music and storytelling.
Tickets: £6.50 / £5.00 (per person based on a group of 4 or more)


Haunting Julia
By Alan Ayckbourn
Friday 3 – Saturday 4 October 8.00pm
Haunting Julia is chilling ghost story that manages to encapsulate Ayckbourn’s trademark timing and wit. A twisted study of grief, obsession and the supernatural, that will have you jumping out of your seat.
Tickets: £12.50 (BITESIZE) / £7.50 (Play only)

We’re Not Going Back
Saturday 11 October 7.30pm
In this hard-hitting musical comedy we follow the fortunes of three sisters determined to set up a branch of Women Against Pit Closures. We’re Not Going Back tackles the resilience of working communities, the make-and-mend fabric of family and the power of sticking two fingers up to a government hell-bent on destruction…
Tickets: £12.00 / £10.00 (Friends / benefit conc) / £5.00 (student)
Shakespeare Schools Festival
Friday 17 October 7.00pm
To mark Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, Queen’s Hall Arts is delighted to be working in partnership with the UK’s largest youth drama festival.
Ticket prices: £8.75 / £6.75 (Friends / benefit conc / student)

Emily Brown & the Thing
Saturday 18 October 1.00pm & 4.00pm
Tall Stories (creators of the hugely popular Gruffalo stage show) present their brand new show.
One evening, Emily Brown and her old grey rabbit Stanley hear a Thing crying outside their window. What’s really troubling the Thing? Find out in this magical, musical show for everyone aged 3 and up.
Tickets: £6.50 / £5.00 (per person based on a group of 4 or more)

Heaven Eyes
By David Almond
Tuesday 21 October 1.15pm & 7.00pm
Based on the novel by internationally renowned children’s author David Almond (Skellig), Théâtre Sans Frontières brings its own inimitable style of story-telling to this spellbinding and other-worldly tale about young people trying to find their way in the world.
Tickets: £12.00 / £10.00 (Friends / benefit conc) / £5.00 (student)
Haunting Julia
By Alan Ayckbourn
Wednesday 22 October 8.00pm
Thursday 23 October 2.00pm
Haunting Julia is chilling ghost story that manages to encapsulate Ayckbourn’s trademark timing and wit. A twisted study of grief, obsession and the supernatural, that will have you jumping out of your seat.
Tickets: £12.50 (BITESIZE ticket includes food) / £7.50 (Play only)

The Magic Flute
Friday 24 October 7.30pm
Mozart’s final masterpiece has become one of the best-loved operas in history. It combines comedy, pantomime, love story, fantasy and philosophy in marvellous music.
Tickets: £16.50 / £10.00 (student)

By John Godber
Saturday 25 October 7.30pm
Judd, Ralph, Les and Lucky Eric invite you for a night on the town in this hilarious and outrageous look back at the 80s nightclub scene. In the tatty, glitzy glamour and flashing lights we meet the smooth talking DJ, the lager swilling lads, the lip-sticked, lacquered girls and many more gyrating to the pulsating beat of the dance floor.
Tickets: £12.00 / £10.00 (Friends / benefit conc) / £5.00 (student)
Monday 27 October 2.00pm
With specially recorded music, beautifully made rod puppets, and Steve Smart’s masterly puppetry skills, this is a show that is enjoyed by adults and children alike. A new show for families ages 4+ years.
Tickets: £6.50 / £5.00 (per person based on a group of 4 or more)

Beauty & the Beast
Wednesday 29 October 7.30pm
Ballet Cymru presents a sparkling and refreshing ballet using stunning costumes, breathtaking choreography, heartbreaking passion and the company’s unique blend of classical technique and storytelling.
Tickets: £13.50 / £11.50 (Friends) / £10.00 (benefit conc / student)

The Counterfeit Sixties Show
Thursday 30 October 7.30pm
Re-live the sounds and the magic of the swinging sixties; a showcase of the great bands of this unforgettable time.
Tickets: £16 / £15 (conc)

Review: Cannon and Ball at Alnwick Playhouse

Cannon and Ball
Alnwick Playhouse 28/8/2014

Alnwick played host to 2 established entertainers who have not lost the knack of delivering a good night.

In a show of 2 halves Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball spun through a set of well crafted family friendly routines.  Jokes and comic routines were freely interdispersed with interaction with the behaviour of the audience. Here lies one of the differences between this show and the modern comics. There was none of the “hello, what’s your name, what do you do – right I’ll now crack a humiliating joke.” There was no over reliance on catchphrases either. Bobby was willing to respond to the whole audience at once without resorting to swearing.  It is clear that there is a strong relationship in this act as they reacted to each other on topics such as table tennis and welding.

The second half was more conversational – similar to the ITV shows “An audience with…” As they told their story and answered written questions from the audience they kept the laughs coming. Cannon and Ball have had to learn the craft the hard way. As they said tonight “After 18 years of doing the clubs, we became overnight successes”. It left one thinking how habits have changed in the last 30 years. No longer are variety acts given much of a chance to shine. Older acts are given limited coverage.  Nor do families sit down together to watch television together on a Saturday evening. The walls of the Playhouse are adorned with six large portraits of comedy heroes such as Eric Morecombe and  Norman Wisdom – perhaps there seems to be fewer legends out there to replace them.

The two experienced entertainers kept the Alnwick crowd in the palm of their hands for the full show. The audience lapped up their timeless humour.  It was a masterclass in merriment.

The tour continues:

Whitby Pavilion Theatre 29th August
Mill Rythe Holiday Village Hampshire 30th August
Bridlington Spa 31st August                     
Skegness Embassy Theatre 3rd September
This review was written by Stephen Oliverfor Jowheretogo PR ( Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook 


Preview: I Promise You Sex And Violence at Newcastle Northern Stage

Pushing the boundaries

I Promise You Sex And Violence
Newcastle Northern Stage
5-20 September

A brutally funny and frankly pretty offensive new play by David Ireland.

Hilarious, sexy and violent, I Promise You Sex and Violence is a romantic comedy about three broken people, who don’t know what they are and don’t know how to behave.

Keith Fleming and Reuben Johnson
Photo: Mark Savage

A witty, frantic and unflinching story directed by Lorne Campbell.

Keith Fleming and Esther MacAuley
Photo: Mark Savage

Fresh from heading up Northern Stage’s 2014 Edinburgh Festival programme in their new home at King’s Hall is David Ireland’s I Promise You Sex And Violence, directed by artistic director Lorne Campbell.
This comic, provocative and shocking rom-com places the emotional and sexual no-limits confusion of urban 30-somethings against a political satire of racism, sexism, homophobia, highlighting the dangers of fearing ‘the other’ which is sharply relevant in the run up to the independence vote.

Reuben Johnson
Photo: Mark Savage
Writer David Ireland is a leading voice of his generation and this is his most ambitious play to date.  Lorne Campbell says, “It’s very very funny, it’s very very offensive, and it’s actually very romantic. It’s a romantic comedy about three broken people, who don’t know what they are and don’t know how to behave. The characters’ actions are desperate and extreme, their language is racist, misogynistic and homophobic and the story follows through on the title’s promise to be both sexy and violent.  David Ireland is one of Britain’s most exciting dramatists and I think this play is his best yet. What is so exciting about his writing is that in the middle of all of this carnage, of all of this extremity, this is a thoughtful, moral and humane play. It’s about how and why we love, about the kindness, understanding and profound tolerance that are absolute necessities for any civilised society.  I Promise You Sex and Violence is a romantic comedy about a love triangle between a racist, a misogynist and a homophobe.   It has the potential to offend everyone in every possible way.  And yet my intention was not to offend.  So how have I ended up writing such a play?   I'm not sure myself.  But I grew up in Belfast in the 70s and 80s so violence, political extremism, tribalism, intolerance and sexual repression are themes that I've always found compelling.  And I love When Harry Met Sally as much as I love The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  And I always thought the Derek and Clive albums were much funnier than anything Peter Cook and Dudley Moore ever did on TV. So maybe this is why the play is what it is.  Whatever happens, the response will be interesting."

Cast are:
Reuben Johnson
Photo: Mark Savage
Reuben Johnson
Esther McAuley
Keith Fleming

Strictly 18+
5-20 Sept, 8pm
Tickets: £14.50 / £12 conc.
Box Office: 0191 230 5151

Post-show discussion: Thu 11 Sept

Special Offer on first night: 3+First Night: Buy 3 or more tickets for Fri 5 Sept and get 50% off (excluding concessions tickets).
Special Offer: MULTIBUY: You could save yourself a packet.
Booking to see more than one show dramatically reduces the cost of your tickets.  Sit in top-price seats without needing to shell out top-price cash. All you need to do is book your shows in one transaction. - See more at:

On The Web: