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Preview: What Falls Apart at Newcastle Live Theatre

Betts on for a dramatic
political encounter

What Falls Apart
Newcastle Live Theatre
Wednesday 22 April to Saturday 16 May

The cast of an explosive political drama have began rehearsals at Newcastle’s Live Theatre.  Nigel Hastings, Zannah Hodson and Kevin Wathen will be getting into character for their roles in the world premiere of What Falls Apart by Torben Betts.  

On Thursday 7 May 2015 voters will take to polling booths across the country to decide who will govern our country.  With less than a month to go the unofficial General Election campaign trail has begun with UK political parties ready to battle it out to win seats across Britain. A report by think tank British Future suggests that, more than at any time in the last 40 years, it’s a fairly open contest.

In the run up and aftermath of the Election voters are being invited to Live Theatre for the world premiere of What Falls Apart written by Torben Betts (Invincible) and directed by Max Roberts which is on from Wednesday 22 April to Saturday 16 May.

Nigel Hastings will be taking on the role of Tom Savage, an ex-Labour minister who has been parachuted into a safe North East constituency where he is trying to win hearts and minds as well as an election. Tom finds himself in a Tyneside hotel bar at midnight with a newly-teetotal barman and a ‘criminally attractive’ woman.  Theatregoers are being invited to watch as he wrestles with a heady cocktail of mid-life crisis, growing dependency on alcohol and the consequences of his Government’s policies in Iraq.  What could possibly go wrong?

He will be joined by Zannah Hodson who will be playing Venetia Fitzpatrick a “criminally attractive” woman with a hidden agenda.  The final member of the cast is local lad Kevin Wathen who will play Gary England a newly teetotal barman and aspiring Buddhist. 

Director Max Roberts said: “With the Election coming up we felt it would be interesting to stage a drama that allowed audiences to come and consider some of the issues that are going to be pertinent to the General Election. In the recent past we’ve presented a number of plays with a political content – A Walk on Part for example was based on the diaries of former MP Chris Mullin and charted the rise and fall of New Labour. The play was presented in Newcastle and London to much critical acclaim and our audiences enjoyed the humour and insight into the world of Westminster Chris’s memoires provided which were skilfully adapted by Michael Chaplin. Torben is also a writer capable of capturing the mood of the times and his abrasive and humorous social commentaries have been much admired. So I'm delighted that his first play for us here at Live Theatre is a topical, engaging and an ultimately explosive drama set on Tyneside during the lead up to the General Election."

Torben, whose recent successes include the 2014 West End hit comedy Invincible and Muswell Hill, which was revived at Park Theatre in London in February to rave reviews, was commissioned by Live Theatre to create a play to be presented at a time when voters across the country will be taking to polling booths to decide who will govern our country on Thursday 7 May 2015.  As Torben explains: “I am really excited about making my Live Theatre debut.  I relocated from London to Berwick upon-Tweed a few years ago with my family and so am delighted to be presenting my first play in the North East. What Falls Apart looks at what has happened to political opposition in this country and centres on a man, who voted for the war in Iraq, having to come face to face with the consequences of his actions. With rehearsals due to start at the end of March I am really looking forward to seeing this my play brought to life during a time of great political uncertainty.”


Wednesday 22 April to Saturday 16 May
What Falls Apart A World Premiere - A Live Theatre Production
Written by Torben Betts - Directed by Max Roberts -
Design by Isla Shaw

PERFORMANCES: Tues to Sat, 7.30pm
MATINEES: Sat 2 & 16 May 2pm, Thurs 7 May, 2pm & Sun 10 May, 4pm
Tickets for What Falls Apart cost £22 to £10, over 60s concessions £22 to £10 and other concessions £15 to £5.  Tickets can be purchased by contacting Live Theatre’s box office on (0191) 232 1232 or online by visiting   
SUITABILITY: 14+, contains strong language
Tuesday 12 May, 7.30pm - British SignLanguage Interpreted
Wednesday 13 May, 7.30pm – Captioned
Thursday 14 May, 6.15pm – Touch Tour
Thursday 14 May, 7.30pm – Audio Described

Associated Events

Thursday 30 April, after the show
Meet the Team
Join writer Torben Betts, director Max Roberts and the cast as they talk about the process of bringing the show from page to stage.
LOCATION: Main Theatre
DURATION: Approx. 30mins
TICKETS: Free, booking essential

Friday 1 May, 8pm
Exclusive Screening of Downhill
Torben Betts wrote the screenplay for the British independent feature film Downhill a story about four old school friends who reunite to attempt the epic coast to coast walk, across the United Kingdom.
As their journey unfolds, this comically incompatible foursome walk full tilt into their mid-life crises.
Join us for an exclusive screening of this film, which was released in cinemas in May 2014, then listen to Torben talk with Max Roberts about the differences between writing for the stage and the screen. This is followed by a Q&A.
LOCATION: Studio Theatre
DURATION: Approx. 2hrs 15mins, including an interval
TICKETS: £8, £6 concs

Sunday 3 May, 4pm
#GetOnYourSoapbox &
Young People’s Question Time
To mark the beginning of Election Week this is a chance to enjoy a piece of theatre devised by young people as they get their voices heard in #GetOnYourSoapbox.
Then join Young People’s Question Time – a chance for local young people to challenge the decision makers who shape the issues that impact on our everyday lives.
LOCATION: Studio Theatre
DURATION: Approx. 2hrs, including an interval
TICKETS: Free, booking essential

Sunday 3 May, 7.30pm
In Defence of Politics
At a time of unprecedented cynicism about politics and politicians, former Labour minister and best-selling diarist Chris Mullin makes a welcome return to Live Theatre, this time to argue that, for all its imperfections, British politics is an honourable profession. Join Chris as he sets out what he believes is the great political challenge facing future generations.
A 40 minute talk followed by 50 minutes of Q&A.
LOCATION: Main Theatre
DURATION: Approx. 1hr 30mins
TICKETS: £12, £10 concs

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