Looking at theatre and the arts across North East England, the North East Theatre Guide continues to celebrate culture in our region.
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A Northern Stage production, directed by Mark Calvert
Performed by NORTH 2016: Craig Fairbairn, Millie Harris, Dale Jewitt, Katherine Pierce & William Wyn Davies
As part of its on-going commitment to supporting and developing new talent, Northern Stage is proud to introduce the next generation of its company of young theatre makers, NORTH. Now in its fourth year, NORTH 2016 present their first production - an abridged version of George Orwell’s Animal Farm - at Northern Stage from Thursday 3rd – Saturday 5thMarch 2016 before touring to schools across the North East.
First published in 1945, Animal Farm is one of the most popular books of the 20th Century; translated into dozens of languages it has become a regular part of the school curriculum for generations of young people so it’s especially fitting that young theatre makers will tour this new production to schools as well as performing in theatres.
Rehersal with Mark Calvert
Directed by Northern Stage’s Associate Director Mark Calvert, it will be an energetic and contemporary re-telling of Orwell’s classic tale of corruption and revolution. Mark says, “Animal Farm is a cracking story, and we’re trying to find a new way to tell it; together we’re inventing a new piece of theatre. If I had to describe it in one sentence I’d say it’s a bit like Kneehigh-meets-Cabaret-meets-Stomp.”
NORTH 2016 member, Craig Fairbarn: “It feels brand new; we’ve been given the gift of a great story but it’s up to us to make it our own. People will be familiar with the text, might even be studying it at school, but we want to do something unexpected - to create a feeling of complicity between us and the audience.”
“We have a responsibility to the classic story but it’s really open to interpretation - lines like ‘The revolution takes place’ give us the chance to do something bold and exciting.” Katherine Pierce, NORTH 2016
Rehersal with Mark Calvert
Giving people the opportunity to learn new skills and develop professionally is something that Northern Stage has won a reputation for over the years. Something Artistic Director Lorne Campbell is personally has experienced first-hand, “Northern Stage has supported my development throughout my career, from being a young assistant director, to coming as a visiting company through the incredible experience of Greyscale winning Title Pending and the advice and mentorship offered to me by then-Artistic Director, Erica Whyman. It’s this kind of sustained and generous contact that makes the development of careers in the arts possible.”
Previous NORTH ensembles went on to become The Letter Room and Camisado Club, enjoying success at the Edinburgh Fringe and touring nationally. Both companies have led sessions with NORTH 2016 offering advice and inspiration, and founding member of The Letter Room, Maria Crocker is assistant director on Animal Farm.
A recent graduate of NewcastleCollege’s Musical Theatre foundation degree, Millie Harris from Darlington says, “This is a phenomenal opportunity for any young performer, but we are especially lucky to have NORTH here in the North East. This year I am lucky enough to be involved. I have always studied and trained in Newcastle and cannot wait to create theatre with likeminded people. I feel passionate about watching the arts grow within our region and being a part of this growth is an honour."