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Preview: Iris at Newcastle Live Theatre

World Premiere Comes To
Newcastle Venue

Iris by Alison Carr
Newcastle Live Theatre
Wednesday 6th to Saturday 30th April 2016

From Wednesday 6th to Saturday 30th April,
Newcastle playwright Alison Carr brings her heady world of caustic humour and tender pathos to Live Theatre for the world premiere of Iris. Directed by Live Theatre’s Artistic Director Max Roberts, Iris is Alison’s first full-length play to be presented on Live Theatre’s main stage.

Iris is a three-hander that follows the relationship of sisters Julie and Ruby who are coming to terms with the death of their mother Iris. This formidable matriarch manages to control their lives from beyond the grave. On the night of the funeral, Julie gets off with Gerry, a crime scene cleaner. Maybe that’ll help. It doesn’t.

When their mother’s unusual bequest unearths a story that leaves some indelible marks, something more than a deep clean is needed.

As Live Theatre’s Literary Manager Gez Casey explains: 
“Alison Carr has a distinct and individual voice as a playwright – witty, quirky and engaging. Following her previous work for Live Theatre, including The Girls From Poppyfield Close and The Soaking of Vera Shrimp in our Studio Theatre, I’m delighted that audiences will be able to see her first full commission in the Main House.”

Iris was first seen at Live Theatre as a play called The Day We Rode the Shuggy Boat when a short extract was presented at the theatre in 2012.

As Alison explains:  "My first piece of writing performed at Live Theatre was part of Short Cuts in 2002. Ten years later an extract from the script that became Iris was showcased as part of the final Short Cuts event. In the decade in-between I have worked with Live Theatre on a variety of projects including The Girls From Poppyfield Close, Paines Plough's Come To Where I’m From and Boys on the Edge. Live Theatre is where I first met and worked with Rosie Kellagher, and we went on to win the Live Lab and The Empty Space Bursary Award and take The Soaking of Vera Shrimp to the Edinburgh Festival  Fringe last year. Seeing Iris on the main stage at Live is the culmination of a long-held ambition and I am incredibly excited to start rehearsals and for audiences to see the play."

Alison’s relationship with Live Theatre began in 2002 when she assisted Jeremy Herrin in directing Double Lives by Julia Darling and Sean O’Brien. In the same year Alison wrote her first short play for the company called Yellow (part of Short Cuts), which was also directed by Jeremy Herrin. In 2003 Alison also took part in Live Theatre’s popular Introduction to Playwriting course to hone her playwriting craft.

Since then Alison has gone on to write numerous plays for Live Theatre including Come to Where I’m From (Paines Plough), The Girls From Poppyfield Close, When It’s Gone (part of nabakov’s Present:Tense) and Ten Tiny Tyneside Plays. Alison has also worked with Live Theatre’s Education and Participation team as a dramaturge for their Write Stuffprogramme, which works with young people still in education to develop their writing and literacy skills.

Notably in 2013, Alison won Live Theatre’s 40th Anniversary Bursary for her heart-warming one woman show The Soaking of Vera Shrimp. The show was described by The Telegraph as ‘achingly beautiful and utterly compelling’ when it later toured to the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Iris is the third production supported by the Friends of Live Theatre. The Friends membership scheme enables individuals who are passionate about Live Theatre’s work to make a tangible difference and get closer to work the company produces. Through regular financial contributions Friends play a pivotal role in unlocking creative talent and supporting emerging playwrights such as Alison Carr.
Friends have special access to exclusive behind-the-scenes events which this year include a series of play-development events around Iris following the play from script to stage. On Wednesday 6 April and Saturday 9 April Friends of Live Theatre can benefit from 241 tickets to see the show.

On Saturday 9 April audiences can join Alison, following the
2pm matinee performance, for the Meet the Writer event where she’ll discuss the making of the play.

Tickets for Iris cost £22-£10 full price, £22-£12 over 60s and £15-£6 for other concessions. For more information or to book tickets visit or contact the box office on (0191) 232 1232.

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