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Review: The Tempest at Newcastle Northern Stage

The Tempest
Newcastle Northern Stage
Until Saturday 10th October 2015

Photo: Topher McGrillis

The Northern Stage is host to a fascinating take on Shakespeare’s Tempest. It is a production that uses original music and cunning design to bring alive a tale of revenge, love and forgiveness.

Photo: Topher McGrillis
After working on Eastenders, as well as for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, Tyrone Huggins appears as Prospero. His character has been robbed of his kingdom and he is keen to take revenge on his brother. With his daughter Miranda (Jade Ogugua) and the flirty spirit Ariel (Eileen Walsh) he awaits their arrival after a shipwreck near his island.

Photo: Topher McGrillis
The set is enchanting – made up of carefully arranged clothing, it looks like designer Becs Andrews has been a regular visitor to the local charity shops. The set enables the cast to effectively blend into the background. The arrival of Hannah McPake and Pete Peverley from the set often resulted in some of the lighter moments of the show.

Photo: Topher McGrillis
The Tempest features a great cast, which quickly won the audience over with the washing machine at the start. John Paul Connolly has great presence as King Alonso. Gary Kitching is very comfortable as Prospero’s brother Antonio. Tony Bell as drunken butler Stephano has great scenes with the highly expressive Trinculo (Hannah McPake).

Photo: Topher McGrillis
When Miranda falls in love with Ferdinand (Christopher Price) it results in the longest lecture about awaiting for the wedding from he father. Shakespeare has a way with words!

Photo: Topher McGrillis
In addition to Phelim McDermott’s enchanting direction there is original music performed live by its creator Brendan Murphy. The score added a special dimension to the show, through his use of some unusual instruments. At times the gentle music and the waving clothes give an almost In The Night Garden feel to proceedings.

Photo: Topher McGrillis
The show has lighter moments thanks to the great work by the cast especially with the mischief of Ariel. Phelim has let the story fly.

This is a production that will capture the fans of the Bard hook, line and sinker.

This review was written by Stephen Oliver for the North East Theatre Guide from Jowheretogo PR ( Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook

On The Web:

Photo: Topher McGrillis
The Tempest comes to Newcastle’s Northern Stage from Friday 25th September - Saturday 10th October 2015
Tickets: £24, £19.50, £14.50 / £12 Students under 21s

Box Office: 0191 230 5151


News: Industry talk & Musical Theatre Workshops

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 Industry Talks and Musical Theatre Workshops 
from the Star of The Buddy Holly Story

Glen Joseph - Industry Talk
Saturday 10th October

West End Performer and Director, Glen Joseph, is best known for his role as Buddy in The Buddy Holly Storyin the West End, UK Tours, Germany & New Zealand, appearing in West End productions of Footloose & Dreamboats & Petticoats, and throughout his career has collectively performed to over one million people. This workshop is aimed at intermediate to advanced actors, or those who wish to pursue a professional career in Performing Arts. Following a brief introduction, Glen will offer the opportunity to answer any questions you may have about our industry including, showreels, head shots, CVs and how to give yourself the best opportunity at the audition. Glen will offer each performer feedback on their approach and respective portfolio, as well as working with each performer individually to access their potential problem areas. Please bring with you any material you want feedback on.

11am - 12.30pm Saturday 10th October - Tickets £15
Industry talk tickets are at this link:

Glen Joseph - Musical Theatre Masterclass
Saturday 10th October

West End Performer and Director, Glen Joseph, is best known for his role as Buddy in The Buddy Holly Storyin the West End, UK Tours, Germany & New Zealand, appearing in West End productions of Footloose & Dreamboats & Petticoats, and throughout his career has collectively performed to over one million people. This workshop is aimed at intermediate to advanced performers, or those who wish to pursue a professional career in Musical Theatre. In this workshop, after a small introduction, and some practical exercises, each actor will have the chance to perform for Glen in the form of a mock audition, and will receive critique along the way; he will be focussing on acting through song, delivery, technique and overall professional quality.  Please wear comfortable clothing for the workshop.

3pm - 4.30pm Saturday 10th October - Tickets £15.

Preview: FOOTLOOSE:The Musical at Newcastle Tyne Theatre

FOOTLOOSE: The Musical
Starring Gareth Gates
Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House
Tuesday 12th to Saturday 16th July 2016

Worldwide smash hit musical Footloose: The Musical will burst back onto the stage in 2016, playing at Tyne Theatre & Opera House from Tuesday 12th to Saturday 16th July 2016 as part of a major new UK Tour.
Based on the 1984 screen sensation starring Kevin Bacon, Footloose: The Musical tells the story of city boy Ren, who has to move to a rural backwater in America where dancing is banned. All hell breaks out as Ren breaks loose and soon has the whole town up on its feet. Featuring classic 80s hits including Holding Out for a Hero,Almost ParadiseLet’s Hear it for the Boy and the unforgettable title track, Footloose: The Musical is set to take the world by storm once again in this brand new production, bursting with youthful spirit, dazzling dance and electrifying music.
When the film was released in 1984, it became the highest-grossing February release in US film history.  The soundtrack album ended the year-long reign of Michael Jackson’s Thriller at number one and went on top album charts all over the world, eventually selling in excess of 17 million copies.  Footloose was nominated for a Golden Globe, and both the title song and Let’s Hear It for the Boy received Academy Award nominations. Footloose: The Musical first opened on Broadway in 1998 where it ran for 709 performances, with a London production following in 2006, opening at the Novello Theatre following a UK Tour.
Footloose: The Musical has music by Tom Snow and lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and is adapted for the stage by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie. It is based on the original screenplay by Dean Pitchford. It is directed and choreographed by Racky Plews (American Idiot, West End). It is produced by David Hutchinson and Phillip Rowntree for Sell A Door Theatre Company and Tristan Baker & Charlie Parsons for Runaway Entertainment. It is presented by arrangement with R&H Theatricals Europe.
FOOTLOOSE: The Musical Starring Gareth Gates comes to Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House from Tuesday 12th to Saturday 16th July 2016.
Tickets: £32.50 Premium, £28.50 Stalls, Grand Circle & Limited View, £25.50 Upper Circle, £22.50 Gallery.   (plus booking fees when booking online and over the phone)
The Tyne Theatre & Opera House Box Office is open 10am-3:30pm Monday to Friday and event days
Booking and Information Line: 0844 2491 000 (10am – 6pm Monday to Friday)
More information at our Website:


Preview: Music at Sunderland Empire Autumn 2015

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A host of one night spectaculars are set to rock the Sunderland Empire stage this Autumn, starting with the return of Steve Steinman as Barron Von Rockula in the all new Vampires Rock Saga Ghost Train (Thursday 8 October). As Club Live and Let Die burns to the ground, Barron Von Rockula flees the ill-fated club with his band of blood sucking vampires in search of a new home. Eventually they come across an old abandoned fairground ride, the Ghost Train where they take refuge and make this their new home. The Barron and his motley crew then set a cunning plan to lure victims into the ride and to live in Rock n Roll hell forever.

Along with Steve Steinman a full cast of singers, dancers, formidable band and aerial performers, blast their way through some of the greatest classic rock anthems of all time. Tracks made famous by some of the best known artists of all time such as Meat Loaf, AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Rolling Stones, Cher, White Snake and Guns and Roses plus many more. All teamed with an amazing stage set and pyrotechnics to blow your mind.

Due to popular demand, reggae legends UB40have confirmed extra UK live dates including a date at Sunderland Empire (Friday 9 October). UB40 are Robin Campbell (co-lead vocals and guitar), Duncan Campbell (lead vocals) Earl Falconer (bass, vocal), Brian Travers (sax and keyboards), Jimmy Brown (drums), Norman Hassan (percussion, vocals). The band also feature, Martin Meredith (sax) and Lawrence Parry (trumpet), who have both been in UB40’s touring line-up for over twenty years, and Tony Mullins (keyboards).

Naming themselves after the unemployment benefit form, UB40 formed in 1978, before releasing their debut album ‘Signing Off’ in August 1980 – considered by many to be one of the greatest reggae albums ever released by a British band. It was the start of a career that has since seen the band have over forty UK Top 40 hit singles and achieve sales of over 100 million records, making UB40 one of the most successful British groups of all-time. The band’s latest Top 30 album ‘Getting Over The Storm’ was awarded BBC Radio 2’s ‘Album Of The Week’ accolade and received 5-star reviews from the UK’s music press on its release in September 2013. Read the full North East Theatre Guide Preview here.

The Illegal Eagles have been thrilling audiences nation-wide for over 18 years and look forward once again to returning to the road in 2015 calling at Sunderland Empire on Saturday 10 October. Following a number of critically acclaimed UK & international tours and headlining countless concerts and festivals, the band have established themselves as not only the Official No.1 tribute to The Eagles, but as one of the foremost authentic and talented theatrical experiences in the world!

Extremely tight harmonies and an acute attention to detail have always been synonymous with The Illegal Eagles. Members Phil Aldridge, Keith Atack, Al Vosper, Darin Murphy, Garreth Hicklin and award-winning vocalist Greg Webb’s ability to capture the emotion of Don Henley’s vocal deliveries have ensured that critical and audience acclaim has been unanimous.
This latest production brings you all the classics - Hotel California, Take It Easy, Take it to the Limit, Lyin’ Eyes, Tequila Sunrise, Life in the Fast Lane, One of These Nights, Witchy Woman, Rocky Mountain Way, Heartache Tonight and a whole lot more!

One Night of Queen, performed by Gary Mullen and The Works hits the stage on Sunday 8 November. In 2000, Gary Mullen won ITV’s “Stars In Their Eyes” Live Grand Final, with the largest number of votes ever received in the shows history.  The record of 864,838 votes was more than twice that of the runner-up.  Gary began touring on his own and in 2002 formed a band ‘The Works’, to pay tribute to rock legends Queen.  Since May 2002, ‘Gary Mullen and the Works’ have performed throughout the UK, USA, Europe, South Africa and New Zealand to sell-out audiences.  The outfit have also twice rocked the prestigious BBC Proms in the Park, in front of a very enthusiastic crowd of 40,000. One Night of Queen is a spectacular live concert, recreating the look, sound, pomp and showmanship of arguably the greatest rock band of all time.

Tickets available in person at the Box Office on High Street West, from the Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022* or online at
*Booking fees and charges apply to telephone and online bookings.
Box Office: 0844 871 3022*
Groups 10+: 0844 871 3042
*Booking fee applies

Preview: Hitler’s Headquarters at Newcastle’s Victoria Tunnel

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New play takes North East theatre-goers underground

Hitler’s Headquarters
Newcastle’s Victoria Tunnel
Monday 28thSeptember – Sunday 11th October 2015

Theatre-goers in the region can enjoy a one-off cultural experience beneath the streets of Newcastle this September and October. 

Twenty Seven Productions is working with the Ouseburn Trust to stage a World War 2-themed play in
Newcastle’s Victoria Tunnel.

‘Hitler’s Headquarters’ will look at real life in Newcastle during some of the most severe bombings of the conflict and tell the stories of families who were made homeless and forced to take shelter beneath the city.
The Victoria Tunnel is a preserved 19th century wagon-way reaching from the Town Moor to the Tyne and in the 1800s was used to transport coal from Spital Tongues Colliery to the river. However, in 1939, the tunnel was converted into an air raid shelter to protect thousands of Newcastle citizens during World War 2.
In 2008, the Victoria Tunnel was carefully repaired and opened for guided tours with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and TyneWear Partnership. Since 2010 the Ouseburn Trust has operated guided tours with fully trained volunteer guides.
Twenty Seven Productions has been given exclusive access to perform its play, which can only be staged in front of an audience of 20 people at a time.
Twenty Seven Productions is an independent film and theatre production company, founded by Victoria Gibson, daughter of Boro Chairman, Steve Gibson, and Christopher Linton. The company stages a variety of live performances around the UK, supporting emerging talent.

Victoria Gibson said: “This is a whole new cultural experience for anyone interested in either the North East’s rich heritage or unusual stage productions. It’s nothing like the average play in a regular theatre as the audience will actually feel part of the whole experience- and get to see the magnificent Victoria Tunnel.

“As a production company, Twenty Seven Productions is committed to different and exciting live performances and nurturing the best new talent. We always work to push the boundaries of film and theatre and Hitler’s Headquarters illustrates this perfectly.”

Hitler’s Headquarters comes to The Victoria Tunnels in Newcastle on the Monday 28thSeptember and runs until the Sunday 11th October, with two shows a day at 4pm and 7pm; each show is an hour long in duration. Due to the nature of the show, we have limited availability so booking is absolutely essential.

Tickets are priced at £15 for adults and £10 for concessions. Booking can be done at 
Should you require a group booking please call the booking hotline – 0333 666 3366  and have your card information ready. Please note that for customers booking via the telephone hotline, an extra £1.50 will be charged for booking fee.

For your own safety, we cannot admit anyone with mobility difficulties onto any of our shows.





The People’s Theatre in Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, has just been awarded a major grant by the Garfield Weston Foundation. The £75,000 grant will contribute towards a £1.6m redevelopment starting this year.

The ambitious plan will transform the front of the building, create a fully accessible studio theatre at ground level, full mobility access, zoned lighting, upgraded heating and ventilation systems and an improved foyer and exterior.

The Garfield Weston Foundation aims to be responsive to where need is greatest. On average, approximately 1,500 charities across the UK benefit each year from grants made by the Foundation ranging from the smallest community and volunteer projects through to large national organisations, however, the common themes are charities that demonstrate quality and excellence with projects that have clear outcomes and benefits, good leadership and sensible business plans.

Tony Childs, for the People’s Theatre, said: “We are delighted that the Garfield Weston Foundation has decided to support the People’s Theatre.  This grant is a significant milestone towards our goal. With the Foundation’s contribution secured we have now raised over £700,000.

“Anyone wishing to donate towards the redevelopment, please get in touch with our fundraiser, Gill, on 07715358955 or by emailing: we would be very pleased to hear from you”


Preview: A Little Bit More Encore at South Shields Customs House

Customs House Favourites Return for Fundraising Encore
A Little Bit More Encore
South Shields Customs House
Sunday September 27th 2015

Some of the region’s top talent will come together this weekend to raise funds.

Popular music act Encore are performing two special shows at The Customs House in South Shields on Sunday and proceeds from a Little Bit More Encore will go to The Customs House Trust.

Janet Lord from the group said: “Nearly 16 years ago, Ray and The Customs House gave Encore their first opportunity to perform to the wider audiences of South Shields and beyond. Since then, it has been our home. There is something special about the warm welcome we receive every time, with all The Customs House team going out of their way to make our time there easy and enjoyable. So it is our turn to say "thank you" and play our small part in keeping The Customs House on the map. I’m even flying over from my home in Spain for the weekend – that is how much it means to me and the whole of Encore.”

A full Encore team of 12 singers plus Andrew Richardson on piano will perform songs from the shows including Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, The Lion King, My Fair Lady, Blood Brothers, Rent and Chicago, as well as some pop favourites and cheeky comedy tunes.
Janet added: “The programme is a melting-pot of favourites from previous shows, including some roof-raising numbers, something sentimental and the opportunity to have a bit of a chuckle. We’ll even be joined by the amazing Ray Spencer to 'help' us along.”

The show will raise funds for The Customs House Trust which provides art and cultural activities for the people of South Tyneside.

Customs House Executive Director Ray Spencer MBE said: “It’s a wonderful gesture by Encore who are such Customs House favourites to fit in these two special shows to help contribute to the work of The Customs House.”

Tickets for A Little Bit More Encore at 2.30pm and 7.30pm on Sunday September 27th 2015 are £10 and are available from The Customs House box office on 0191 454 1234 or by visiting

Preview: North Tyneside Disability Forum Present Variety Show at Whitley Bay Playhouse

North Tyneside Disability Forum Present Variety Show
Whitley Bay Playhouse
Friday 29th January 2016

The Playhouse Whitley Bay is delighted to welcome back the North Tyneside Disability Forum after their fantastic 2015 show with their Variety Show. You can now get tickets for the event on the 29th January at 7pm.

A fantastic unique evening of family fun and entertainment that features North Tyneside Disability Forum members, friends and associates in a range of acts and performances including music, dance, drama and much, much more!

The NTDF work with the physically disabled, learning disabled vulnerable and chronically sick, deaf and blind people as well as their families, carers, advocates and other disabled and deaf peoples groups and organizations. Over 2,500 people per annum use this fantastic service. Independent of the Local Authority they draw funding from charitable trusts, organizations and members efforts. Their aim is to improve the quality of life and enhance the opportunities and accessibility of those opportunities for those affected by disadvantage through disability. Their intention is to enable disabled people to be active participants in society and not passive recipients of care.

So come along and support this amazing cause!

North Tyneside Disability Forum Present Variety Show ayWhitley Bay Playhouse on Friday 29th January 2016, 7pm.
Tickets are on sale now priced at £7

Tickets are available from the Box Office open Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm, Saturday 10.30am -2.30pm plus until show start on event days. Tickets can also be purchased on the booking hotline 0844 248 1588* or online at

*Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.