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Preview: Rendezvous at Newcastle Live Theatre

Rehearsals start for Rendezvous, Live Theatre’s celebration of writer Julia Darling

Newcastle Live Theatre
Thursday 28 May to Saturday 6 June 2015

A celebration of the life and work of Julia Darling
Directed by Clive Judd & Anna Ryder

Rehearsals get underway today for Live Theatre’s production Rendezvous, five new short plays celebrating the life and work of novelist, poet and playwright Julia Darling, who died following a lengthy battle with breast cancer in 2005.

Photo: Sasa Savik
To mark the 10th anniversary of Julia’s death directors Clive Judd, Anna Ryder and Live Theatre’s Artistic Director Max Roberts will spend the next two and a half weeks working with actors Dean Bone (Live’s Youth Theatre & Write Stuff), Phil Corbitt (Tyne), Lauren Kellegher (Live’s Youth Theatre & Jumping Puddles), Zoe Lambert (Tyne) and Karen Traynor (Reality- Live Theatre/RSC) to bring these stories, which are inspired by Julia’s work, to life.  The end results will be shared with audiences from Thursday 28 May to Saturday 6 June.

Written by Laura Lindow (Sawdust & Stardust and Your Aunt Fanny), Deborah Bruce (director of Geoff Dead: Disco For Sale), Nina Berry (10 Minutes to…), Amy Golding (Mamela) and Holly Reed Macrae, who will be making her Live Theatre debut, mentored by writer Karin Young (Emmerdale), the plays feature everything from mysterious love letters and big decisions to a true story of two friends and a mix tape.

Rendezvous cast, writers and directors
The actors taking part in the project include close friend and colleague of Julia Darling, Zoe Lambert. Julia wrote a one-woman show Personal Belongings for Zoe who was last at Live Theatre for the company’s 40th anniversary production Tyne in which she performed Julia Darling’s short play The Women Who Painted Ships

Zoe Lambert said: “This is a really exciting project to be part of and a great marking of Julia’s legacy.  The five pieces are brilliant, all of them individual but capturing some essence of Julia’s humanity and wonderful take on the world.”

Tickets for Rendezvous cost £14 to £10 full price, £12 to £10 for over 60s and other concessions are £5. To find out more about the production and the special events to coincide with the plays visit or call the box office on (0191) 232 1232

DURATION:Approx. 1hr 50mins including an interval

Wrap Around events listings

Sunday 24 & 31 May, 7.30pm
Rendezvous 2
Presented in association with New Writing North

Live Theatre is delighted to host an evening celebrating Julia Darling’s writing. This cabaret style evening will feature poetry, fiction, extracts from plays and live music performed by many of Julia’s long time collaborators, performers and friends including The Poetry Virgins. New Writing North will also be announcing the winner of the inaugural Julia Darling Travel Fellowship, a new award to support a writer to travel and write, that has been created in Julia’s memory at the event.

DATES: Sun 24 & 31 May, 7.30pm
LOCATION: Main Theatre
DURATION: Approx. 2hrs 15mins including an interval
TICKETS:  £14-£10, over 60s conc £12-£10, other concs £5
Saturday 30 May, 10am
First Aid Kit Workshop
Presented by artist Emma Holliday & writer Anna Woodford
The original First Aid Kit for the Mind, developed and made by Julia Darling, Emma Holliday and Jay Smart, was the start of a collection, a piece of ‘home’ in a box should you find yourself in a hospital or other setting where you would need something familiar. For ten years the boxes have retained their original contents however this workshop will be branching out from this format and letting it take the next step of its journey.

Join writer Emma Holliday and writer Anna Woodford in this workshop which features art and creative writing activities designed to help you create your own box or one for someone else.

Places are strictly limited so please book early.

DURATION: Up to 5 hrs
TICKETS:  £15 (includes materials)

Saturday 30 May, 4.30pm
Around the Kitchen Table
Presented by The Poetry Virgins

The Poetry Virgins used to gather round Julia
s kitchen table with bottles of wine and nibbles, bouncing around ideas for poems and performances and laughing. They wrote about cars, bras, birth and politics and much more.
This is your chance to join The Poetry Virgins, including Charlie Hardwick, Kay Hepplewhite, Fiona MacPherson and Ellen Phethean, as they revive the bonhomie and creativity for one more night.

DURATION: Approx. 2 hrs 30 mins

Saturday 30 May, 6pm

Panel Discussion

An informal conversation with some of Julia’s colleagues and collaborators remembering and re-evaluating her work, her legacy and influence across the full range of her creative canon – plays for theatre and radio, poems, short stories and novels.
DURATION: Approx. 45 mins
TICKETS:  Free, booking essential

Tuesday 2 June,
proudWords Workshop

Why a gay writing workshop? Creative writing workshops for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities were a major part of the proudWords festival, giving LGBT people, both writers and non-writers, the opportunity to express themselves in a supportive, queer-friendly environment. Lisa Matthews will lead this workshop with a range of writing activities about how we can celebrate the unique literary contribution the LGBT community makes.
DURATION: Approx. 2 hrs
TICKETS:  Free, booking essential
Wednesday 3 June, 5.30pm
How to… Write a Poem

Using Julia’s own 2005 poetry workshop for the Guardian, explore ideas by writing about what you don’t know.
“Poetry can be a brilliant way of exploring the things you don't know. Let me explain. Often we write too literally, too logically or self-consciously, when it is the imaginative connections - the leaps of faith, the connections between images and words - that are interesting to the writer and the reader. Poetry is an odd combination of creative energy and technical ability. In this exercise we are trying to let ourselves free fall, then working on the poem to give it shape. I like poetry to be useful, and I think that by writing about what we don't know we can explore all kinds of ideas within our minds, and help ourselves, too. Julia Darling
DURATION: Approx. 1 hr 45mins
Wednesday 3 June, 6.30pm
Cold Calling Film Screening
Starring Charlie Hardwick & Trevor Fox

Cold Calling
is a screen adaptation of Julia Darling’s theatre play Attachments about a recently bereaved anaesthetist who gets an unexpected call from a pushy but not entirely successful door-to-door Hooversalesman. Filmed in front of a live audience and first broadcast by Tyne Tees in 2003.

DURATION: Approx. 30mins
TICKETS:  Free, booking essential

Thursday 4 June, 6pm
Letters Home
Presented by Operating Theatre 

Grace is a single mother with a teenage daughter and a pair of twins. She’s just got divorced and the boiler’s on the blink. None of which is the main problem. The main problem is daughter Janie. Mel, Gracie’s best friend, says “Don’t worry. It’s just a phase she’s going through”. But Grace isn’t so sure. And what can she do if Janie won’t talk to her…
To say that Julia Darling was a founder member of Operating Theatre is not quite enough. In fact, it could more truthfully be said that she was the very reason for its existence. It was Julia Darling’s play Eating the Elephant about cancer that convinced Dr Dominic Slowie, then a lecturer at Newcastle University’s Medical School, that drama could be a valuable tool in medical education. Fourteen years later Letters Home is one of the four plays performed each year by Operating Theatre for Newcastle University medical students.
DURATION: Approx. 45mins
Friday 5 June, 6pm
Diamond Twig
Julia Darling and Ellen Phethean at Diamond Twig Press passionately believed in encouraging new women writers. With her work and expansive personality, Julia inspired and encouraged writers wherever she went.

Ellen and Diamond Twig host a reading by women and men, poets,new writers, experienced published writers - each of whom have contributed a poem to Julia’s memory and written a few words about how she inspired them.

DURATION: Approx. 1hr

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