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Preview: How The Koala Learnt To Hug at South Shields Customs House

A Koala day full of fun coming to The Customs House

How The Koala Learnt To Hug
South Shields Customs House
Sunday 3rd April 2016

Young theatre fans will learn the importance of a hug this weekend.

Steven Lee’s How the Koala Learnt to Hug will be brought to life at The Customs House, South Shields as it takes a pit stop on its nationwide tour.

Presented by The People’s Theatre, the show is based on the title story from How The Koala Learnt To Hugand Other Australian Fairytales and takes place on Sunday 3rd April at 2.30pm.

Writer Steven, who also stars in the show, said: “Written especially for parents to enjoy with their children, How The Koala Learnt to Hug is a charming tale about the magic of family and, of course, the importance of a nice warm hug!

“Adapting my own book for the stage was a natural step but it is a surprise even to me that it has had such longevity.

“Hugs are timeless and wonderful reminders of our shared affection. They're central to being part of any group that cares about one another but especially a family and I think that's why people are so drawn to the show.”

With heartwarming outback characters and a clever mixture of live action puppetry and animatronics the show is wholesome charming entertainment for the whole family with great stories, sing along songs, games and first class hugging.

Customs House Executive Director Ray Spencer said: “Steven’s shows are a perfect introduction to theatre for children and a great opportunity to enjoy some good old family fun during the Easter break.”

Tickets are £8, £7 for children & £28 for a family ticket and are available from the box office on 0191 454 1234 or by visiting


Preview: COMMUNITY at Middlesbrough The House Of Blah Blah

Middlesbrough The House Of Blah Blah
Thursday 21st - Friday  22nd April 2016.

Written And Directed by Scott Davies.

Cast: Andrew Dawson
Alex Goodchild
Shane Headlam
Natasha Graham
Luke Maddison
Gemma Whiteley

A community cracking at the seams. Glass with only shards staring back and a party overgrown and long since dead. The lights are out, the Walls are cracking, the grass is dying. With only that of the voices left behind. All those asking if at all are we community? The prevailing promiscuity culture eating away at a once unified heart. The faceless crowds screaming for a mask. The lost, dying.

We follow the voices of six outcasts left behind to tend to the overgrown garden of morality, the cracking foundations and all those fading lights. Josh, seemingly as disposable as a condom wrapper to him. Steven, fantasising about a life only he and casper could really live. Robert, wearing the wrong skin. Sadie, fucked over pondering obsessions unimaginable only wishing to touch the fish beneath the surface. Mark, A typical lad living an untypical life with his world breaking and crashing down with the popcorn snowfall. Sarah, drowning under the weight of fairytales built on lies, betrayal and deceit.

Clocks ticking, Walls crumbling and grass dying. A community built on the shoulders of the lost asking if living a life of intimacy through a screen and hiding away from a once unified solidarity is enough now? Enough now for a dying generation? Enough now for meaningless fucking and faceless sex? Follow the voices of six outcasts. Join us. The party's over.


On The Web:
Facebook: Community, A new play.
Instagram: @communityplay2016
Twitter: @Community2016

The House Of Blah Blah - Exchange House Exchange square , Middlesbrough TS1 1DB



Preview: Flare Path at Darlington Civic Theatre


Flare Path
Darlington Civic Theatre
Tuesday 12th to Saturday 16th April 2016

Graham Seed heads the cast of the Terence Rattigan war-time classic Flare Path which comes to Darlington Civic Theatre in April

The highly acclaimed national tour of Terence Rattigan’s Flare Path, directed by Justin Audibert, comes to Darlington Civic Theatre from Tuesday 12thto Saturday 16th April.

The cast will be led by Graham Seed (The Archers, Yes, Prime Minister) as Squadron Leader Swanson, Lynden Edwards as Peter Kyle and Hedydd Dylan as Patricia Graham. They will be joined by Claire Andreadis as Countess Skriczevinsky, William Reay as Flying Officer Count Skriczevinsky and Corporal Jones, Jamie Hogarth as Sergeant Miller, Charlie G Hawkins as Percy, Polly Hughes as Mrs Miller and Emma Carter as Betty.

Based on Rattigan’s experiences as a tail gunner during World War II, Flare Path paints an evocative portrait of life in wartime Britain for the life-and-death existence of the RAF bomber crews, and their wives and sweethearts who were left waiting their return.

Set in 1942 against a backdrop of heartache and quiet bravery, Flare Path tells the story of former actress Patricia, the wife of RAF pilot Teddy, whose marriage is tested to the limits by the surprise arrival of Patricia’s exlover and Hollywood idol Peter Kyle. An unexpected and dangerous mission over Germany puts Patricia at the centre of an emotional conflict as unpredictable as the war in the skies.

Flare Path combines highly charged drama with a truly authentic taste of the fear, camaraderie and passion experienced by the men and women who fought to save their country, their families and each other.

Flare Path runs at Darlington Civic Theatre from Tuesday 12 to Saturday 16 April. Recommended age 12+.

Tickets* are £17 to £25.50.
For tickets and more information visit call 01325 486555.

There will be a free post show talk on Wednesday 13 April

*All prices include a £1 restoration levy


Preview: Great Northern Slam at Newcastle Northern Stage

Great Northern Slam
Hosted by Jeff Price
Special Guest Rowan McCabe
Newcastle Northern Stage
Thursday 31st March 2016

The Great Northern Slam is back. Their last show played to a full house and made history to be the first Slam ever to go digital. Every member of the audience got a voting gizmo that registered their vote in our electronic voting system. It was fun and it was fast with poets being knocked out like drunks on a Saturday night in the Bigg Market.

It's performance poetry meets X-Factor. Sixteen of the best slam poets in the North have 3 minutes each to wow the audience with words and delivery and then you the audience vote and in each round we eliminate poets until only two are left to battle it out for the prize, pride and the glory of becoming Great Northern Slam Champion.

In addition, they have invited the winner of the November Slam back to do a guest spot. Rowan McCabe has appeared around the country at places like the Edinburgh Fringe and the Bristol Poetry Festival; in the past he’s supported John Hegley, Tim Turnbull and Dizraeli. In 2014 he wrote and toured his one man show, North East Rising (Read the NETG review of North East Rising LINK).

Great Northern Slam - Hosted by Jeff Price
Special Guest Rowan McCabe comes to Newcastle Northern Stage on Thursday 31st March at 7.45pm
£8.50 Tickets

Tickets from the Box Office 0191 230 5151


Preview: The Naked Truth at Newcastle Tyne Theatre

Sisters are doing it for themselves

The Naked Truth
Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House
Friday 3rd June 2016
Tyne Theatre & Opera House are excited to announce the addition of hit comedy The Naked Truth to their 2016 programme. The Naked Truth is the latest addition to the list of stellar touring productions visiting the Tyne Theatre & Opera House stage this year.
Starring Vicki Michelle (‘Allo ‘Allo!) and Faye Tozer (former member of pop group Steps) with full supporting cast including Louise Michelle, Amy Drake and Eve Burley, The Naked Truth is a tale of real women and real lives directed by Lisa Riley (Star of Emmerdale and Strictly Come Dancing).
Tailor-made for women, The Naked Truth is a hit comedy play from Dave Simpson, the writer of smash-hit comedy Girls Night Out. Now on its 10th fantastic tour, the show has had people on their feet all over the UK.  

Set in a village hall pole dancing class, The Naked Truth is a brilliantly funny, bittersweet comedy about sisterhood, as five very different women struggle hilariously to conquer pole dancing for an event to raise awareness and money for a breast cancer charity.

A poignant and uplifting comedy, this wonderful show celebrates strength through adversity. If you were touched by Calendar Girls and amused by the routines of Stepping Outyou'll be splitting your sides and moved to tears by The Naked Truth.

“…Even more uplifting than a Playtex bra. Don’t miss it” The Public Reviews

"Better than marriage guidance" - Yorkshire Post.

The Naked Truth joins the already impressive programme of highly acclaimed touring productions paying a visit to Tyne Theatre & Opera House in 2016. April sees worldwide smash hit and Tony Award winner Avenue Q bring its fuzzy mischief to the theatre’s stage, while May brings End of the Rainbow, the stunning tale of Judy Garland which features television star Lisa Maxwell in the starring role. Then get ready to Cut Loose in July as Footloose: The Musical starring Gareth Gates and Maureen Nolan dances its way into the hearts of Newcastle upon Tyne. There’s something for everyone!

Tickets for The Naked Truth are now on sale. £22.50, £20 Concessions. Groups buy 9 tickets get 10th free. (plus booking fees when booking online and over the phone). To book tickets for The Naked Truth or any other production online please visit
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)


Preview: Shafted! at Newcastle Northern Stage

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John Godber brings legacy of the
miners’ strikes to Newcastle

Newcastle Northern Stage
Tuesday 12th - Saturday 16th April 2016

Miners will take centre stage as BAFTA Award-winning playwright John Godber brings his latest play to Newcastle’s Northern Stage in April.

Shafted! follows the lives of former pitman Harry and his wife Dot – played by Godber and  his wife Jane Thornton - in the thirty years after the strikes of 1984, as the pair struggle to settle into new jobs and to rebuild their community.

Suddenly they were thrown together, with new battles to fight and new jobs to hold down; from window cleaning in Wakefield to running a boarding house in Bridlington; but life would never be the same again.

Fuelled with eye-watering honesty and true Yorkshire grit, this is a hilarious account of those whose jobs had been taken and whose communities had been destroyed, and how they fought back after being Shafted!

The pits may have gone but the shifts are still seismic!

The John Godber Company was formed in March 2011 by celebrated playwright John Godber and his wife Jane Thornton, following John’s departure from Hull Truck Theatre after 26 years as its artistic director.

John Godber was born the son of a miner in Upton, West Yorkshire. He trained as a teacher of drama at Bretton Hall College, Wakefield. Whilst he was head of drama at Minsthorpe High School, the school he attended as a student, he won every major award at the National Student Drama Festival between 1981 and 1983.

His plays include: Bouncers, Up ’n’ Under, April in Paris, Teechers, Poles Apart, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Cramp, Happy Jack, September in the Rain, Salt of the Earth, Passion Killers, Happy Families, Up ’n’ Under ll, Gym and Tonic, Dracula, Lucky Sods, Hooray for Hollywood, Weekend Breaks, It Started With a Kiss, Unleashed, Thick As a Brick, Big Trouble in the Little Bedroom, Seasons in the Sun, On a Night Like This, Our House, Departures, Men of the World, Reunion, Screaming Blue Murder, Black Ties and Tales, Perfect Pitch, Going Dutch, Christmas Crackers and Crown Prince.

Within an extensive career in writing and directing in TV and film, John devised the BBC Two series Chalkface, wrote and directed The Ritz and also worked with Anthony Minghella on Grange Hill and Phil Redmond on Brookside; his screenplay 8 My Kingdom for a Horse, starring Sean Bean, was nominated for an Alternative BAFTA. John’s first feature film, Up ’n’ Under, was released in January 1998.
In 2005 he co-wrote and directed Odd Squad for BBC Two, which was shot in Hull using local actors. Odd Squad won two BAFTAs in the Schools Drama category and in the BAFTA Original Writer section.

Jane Thornton’s stage writing credits include Say It With Flowers (Hull Truck Theatre), All the Fun of the Fight (Theatre Royal Wakefield), I Want That Hair and Wuthering Heights (Hull Truck Theatre).

For television, she co-wrote the BAFTA-winning Odd Squad (BBC), Bloomin’ Marvellous, Shakers, Chalk face (BBC) and It’s Happy Hour Again (Channel 4).

As an actor, Jane appeared in the original theatre productions of Up ‘n’ Under,  Happy Jack, September in the Rain and April in Paris and for TV, Coronation Street, Heartbeat, Hollyoaks and the screen plays of Up ‘n’ Under, My Kingdom for a Horse where she played opposite Sean Bean, and Thunder Road.

Shafted comes to Northern Stage from Tuesday 12th - Saturday 16th April 2016, 7.30pm

Wed 13 Apr Straight from Work Performance: 6pm 
Matinee Sat 16 Apr,
Tue - Fri & Sat matinee
£24, £19.50, £14.50
Students/Under 21s: £12
Concessions Available

Saturday Evenings:
16 Apr -
£25, £19.50, £14.50
Students/Under 21s: £12
Concessions Available  

Post-show discussion: Wed 13 Apr
Recommended age:14+

For tickets call the box office on 0191 230 5151, visit the venue in person or book online at