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Preview: Get Santa! at Newcastle Northern Stage

Northern Stage’s Christmas Treat

Get Santa!
Newcastle Northern Stage
Monday 1 - Saturday 27 Dec 2014

Credit: Garance Marneur
Every year Holly has been nice, not naughty. She has written Santa a letter, left milk, cookies and a carrot for Rudolph and asked for the one thing she really, really, really wants - to meet her dad for the first time. And every year, Santa gave her toys and books and chocolate and all the other rubbish she didn’t want. So this year, on Christmas Eve, in the dead of night when everyone is asleep, she’s going to Get Santa. But when Holly’s trap goes wrong and she kidnaps Santa’s hopeless son, a chain of magical events is unleashed that leads to a very grumpy Santa and an endless Christmas forced upon the world...

Written by Anthony Neilson and directed by Northern Stage Artistic Director Lorne Campbell, this new production is a fun, festive show with songs, slapstick and puppetry for children aged 7 and over and their families. But this Christmas, one group of talented youngsters will do more than just watch.

For the first time, members of Northern Stage’s Young Company will take centre stage in the theatre’s big Christmas show. Young Company gives performers aged 16 – 21 the opportunity to develop their talent and skills through a unique experience working with industry professionals. Director Lorne Campbell says, "We established our Young Company as a way to give excited and exciting young performers access to the professional stage. Casting Young Company members in Get Santa is a first try at taking some of our exceptional young people and putting them into the middle of our biggest show of the year.”

Six Young Company members aged 17 - 19 will take part, including 17 year old Anna Robinson from Gosforth who has been cast as understudy to the lead role of Holly, played by Tessa Parr – most recently seen on stage in Greyscale’s 2014 Edinburgh fringe show Dead to Me, Tessa’s TV roles include BBC2’s Edwardian drama Parade’s End, alongside Benedict Cumberbatch. Anna celebrated her 16th birthday while rehearsing for Young Company London 2012 project Truce, and will celebrate her 18th when rehearsals start for Get Santa in November. Anna says, “I'm looking forward to working with a real, professional company, with real, professional actors! I'd always thought the only way to work professionally was through getting some sort of drama school qualification - I never thought I'd be doing it at 18!”

19 year old Phoebe Elliott from Newcastle has been involved with Northern Stage since she was 11. “I’m really looking forward to being part of Get Santa! The opportunity to be involved in a professional main stage production and to be directed by the theatre’s Artistic Director, Lorne Campbell, was far too good an opportunity to pass up. Northern Stage is responsible for most of my professional development - I’ve done everything from summer schools to development projects to fundraising performances. I’m also a National Youth Theatre member and I founded, and run, my own theatre company.”

Tom Walton, Sharuna Sagar and NS Young Company Photo: BBC
In another first this Christmas, our newest talent will be joined by some more familiar faces – BBC Look North’s Sharuna Sagar and ITV Tyne Tees and Good Morning Britain presenter Rachel Sweeney both have cameo roles.

Rachel said, "I was over the moon to be asked to play a cameo role in Get Santa! I met Lorne when I was singing at a charity ball earlier this year and really admire the passion he has for theatre. The script is funny and I'm thrilled to be a part of the show. I have written comedy and my mother is a stand-up comedienne so I always appreciate a witty one-liner or two! It's going to be a fantastic experience and I'm very much looking forward to it."

Sharuna Sagar and Bumblehole played by
Tom Walton in Get Santa Photo: BBC

"Unsurprisingly I've never been asked to do anything like this before - I'm more used to the small screen than the big stage, and the patch I cover doesn't usually extend as far as the North Pole! I've interviewed a few characters in my time, but few as unnerving (but strangely charming) as Bumblehole from Get Santa." Sharuna Sagar, BBC Look North

The cast also includes singer, musician and actor Jane Holman (Tyne, plus film and TV roles in Vera, 55 Degrees North, George Gently, and Billy Elliot) Playing Holly’s mum; Gary Kitching (Oh, What a Lovely War, The Suggestibles) plays Holly’s stepdad...who also happens to be a dog; Tom Walton is Santa’s son Bumblehole (The Borrowers, Tattercoats); Paula Penman (Donna Disco, The Little Detective Agency) plays Holly’s Gran; Scott Turnbull (winner of the 2012 Journal Culture Award for his performance in Apples) plays Teddy; and James Ryland (Waking Ned, Taggart) is Santa.

Award-winning Scottish playwright Anthony Neilson is renowned for his pioneering, ground-breaking and imaginative new work for the Royal Court, Headlong and the Edinburgh Festival. Composer Nick Powell’s work for theatre includes the National Theatre, Paines Plough and Improbable. Linbury Prize-winning designer Garance Marneur worked alongside Lorne on last year’s Northern Stage Christmas production Dark Woods, Deep Snow having designed the set for acclaimed children’s show The Prince and the Pauper at the Unicorn Theatre. Sound design is by Aly Macrae, who collaborated on Northern Stage’s 2013’s Edinburgh Fringe hit, The Bloody Great Border Ballad.

Lorne says, “Get Santa is a show with a huge, modern heart. It’s about the magic of Christmas, the imagination of childhood, the weirdness of families and that even if you accidentally bring an evil teddy bear to life and almost destroy the world, your Gran will still love you.”

Get Santa! is on at Northern Stage, Newcastle from 1 to 27 December.

Get Santa! Mon 1 – Sat 27 Dec
Tickets: £24 / £19.50 / £14.50, under 21s £12 
Special Deals:
Families: Family of 4 - £60 for selected performances (see website)
3+: Buy 3 or more tickets for Sat 6 Dec and get 50% (except £14.50 tickets)
Multibuy: Buy at the same time as other shows to recieve a discount - see multibuy website
A jolly Christmas play full of songs, slapstick, puppetry and fun for children aged 7 and over and their families.
Box Office: 0191 230 5151

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