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Preview: Heroes at Newcastle People’s Theatre

An idealist, a pragmatist and a fence-sitter
in a very British piece of Gallic whimsy   

by Gérald Sibleyras, translated by Tom Stoppard
Newcastle People’s Theatre
Tuesday 3rd to Saturday 7th May 2016

Written by a Frenchman and rendered into English by Czech-born Tom Stoppard, Heroes was described by its translator as “a very British play” and by its author as a comic take on “the universal desire to escape from the confines of life”.

Philippe (Tony Neale), Gustave (Gordon Mounsey), 
Henri (Steve Robertson)
Photo: Paula Smart
It's 1959 and Philippe, Gustave and Henri, three veterans from the First World War, dream of making their escape from the old soldiers' home - well, at least as far as the poplar trees on the hill.

The gentle humour of this play arises from the foibles of these men as they wait for inevitable death, which they avoided in the trenches of their youth.

“Don’t talk to me about Autumn…September and October are living death.”

Henri (Steve Robertson), Philippe (Tony Neale), 
Gustave (Gordon Mounsey)
Photo: Paula Smart
Gustave suffers from a crippling agoraphobia, Henri is afflicted by a gammy leg, and Phillippe periodically passes out due to a piece of shrapnel lodged in his brain.

These three old codgers live in a fantasy world of verbal duelling, sexual fantasy, and the vexed question of whether or not the nearby statue of a dog has a life of its own. 

Gérald Sibleyras's Le Vent des Peupliers (“The Wind in the Poplars”) premiered in Paris in 2002.

Tom Stoppard’s English translation opened at Wyndham's Theatre, London, three years later, winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 2006.

In this studio production, the People’s Theatre is proud to give the play its premiere on Tyneside.


DATE:         Tuesday 3rd to Saturday 7th May 2016
TIME:          7.30pm
VENUE:      The Studio Upstairs, The People’s Theatre, Stephenson Road, Newcastle upon
Tyne, NE6 5QF
TICKETS:     £13.50 (Concessions £11)
TELE:           0191 265 5020

Preview: Kindly Leave the Stage on tour


Baroque Theatre Company presents the play within a play
Kindly Leave the Stage
UK TOUR 2016
A comedy by John Chapman 

A play within a play the laughs came thick and fast....” “The stage is set for a superb farce full of great punch lines beautifully delivered. Baroque Theatre is one to watch”. Eastern Daily Press.

Photo: Kellie Colby
Norwich based Baroque Theatre Company announce their 2016 tour of John Chapman’s farce Kindly Leave the Stage. Back by popular demand, and marking Baroque’s biggest to date, Kindly Leave the Stage will play in an impressive 33 venues across the UK- from Penzance in Cornwall to Carlisle in Cumbria, and many towns and cities in between.

Kindly Leave the Stage visits a number of theatres across our region including Masham, Seaton Delaval, Carlisle and Millom. 

Photo: Kellie Colby
The much-lauded Kindly Leave the Stagepremiered in 1993 and is a light-hearted take on the complete theatricality of stage folk. It is a celebration of fun, mayhem and thespian mischief and a similar format to Noises Off - a play within a play. The ensemble go head-to-head as they play the characters in the play and the actors who are in the play. It’s a fast-paced farce which is easy to watch and lots of fun. Jealousy, revelations and the precious actors’ egos are revealed as Baroque Theatre Company bring celebrated John Chapman’s crisp writing and hilarious ‘double entrendres’ to life.

The play tells the story of Rupert and Sarah whose marriage is on the rocks. Their friends Charles and Madge are both lawyers and agree to handle the divorce. Just after curtain up, Rupert forgets his lines, has a brain storm and threatens to kill Charles in full view of the audience because he’s been having an affair off stage, with his real wife, Madge. The rest of the cast try to ignore the incident and forge ahead with the original play but Rupert picks up a knife and advances on Charles, who is forced to take cover in a large cabin storage trunk which is on the set at the time. A real-life marital comedy evolves.

Photo: Kellie Colby
The situation is further complicated when the actor playing the old father, Edward, makes his entrance. He is an ageing Shakespearean star, once famous for his King Lear but now an alcoholic and down on his luck. He happens to have asked his new agent to the performance that night. Edward is blissfully unaware that the play has switched from art to life. Out of loyalty to a fellow actor, the rest of the cast do their best to accommodate the poor chap, but he gradually begins to think he is going mad, especially as some of his cues are coming from the storage trunk.

Photo: Kellie Colby
Cast in the role of Rupert is Ivan Wilkinson. Wilkinson returns to Baroque Theatre Company, after two previous tours with the company, playing Sergeant Lewis in House of Ghosts: An Inspector Morse Mysteryand Dr Watson in Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol. He attended Mountview Academy for Theatre Arts, graduating in 2003. Wilkinson is joined by actors Paul Cleveland (Charles), Claire Bibby (Madge), Talitha Willsea (Sarah), Patricia Derrick (Mrs Cullen), Elizabeth Goram-Smith (Angela), Helen Fullerton (Nurse Brown) and David Shackleton (Edward).

The production’s director is award-winning Adam Morley. No stranger to radio, TV and theatre, Morley has directed over sixty productions including Newsrevue, the world’s longest running live comedy show at the Canal Café Theatre in London. To date, Morley has directed eleven productions for Baroque Theatre Company including Great Expectations in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens in 2010, Up Pompeii, The 101 Dalmatians and most recently Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol and The Great Santa Kidnap. Morley is the associate director at Canal Café Theatre and artistic director of Baroque Theatre Company.

Lighting and sound is by James Wenn and costume design by Suzanne Bell.

Travelling from venue to venue and back to home-base in Norwich during the 12-week, 33-venue stint, ‘Madge’, Baroque Theatre Company’s faithful tour van, and the show’s eight actors, will clock up over 5000 miles during the 2016 Kindly Leave the Stage engagement- that’s a staggering 101 hours (4 days) on the road!

"This imaginative and worthwhile play has been brilliantly revived and the delicious deconstruction of traditional farce, directed by Adam Morley, pleased all the audience. If it’s anywhere near you, don’t miss it” Eastern Daily Press

Director: Adam Morley
Producer: Claire Bibby
Sponsored by: Julian Bibby, Clarian Ltd
Stage Manager: Katie Patrick
Lighting & Sound Technician: James Wenn
Costume Design: Suzanne Bell

On The Web:

Friday 6 May at 7.30pm
Masham Town Hall, Little Market Place, Masham, North Yorkshire HG4 4DY
Box Office: 01765 680200
Ticket Prices: £8.00 (Full) £5.00 (Concessions)

Saturday 7 May at 7.30pm
Seaton Delaval Arts Centre, Blyth Street, Seaton Delaval, Whitley Bay, Northumberland NE25 0DY
Box Office:  0191 237 5460
Ticket Prices: £9.00 (Full) £8.00 (Concessions)

Wednesday 22 June at 7.30pm
Stanwix Theatre, University of CumbriaBrampton Road, Carlisle, Cumbria CA3 9AY 
Box Office: 01228 400356 email 
Tickets: £10.00 (adults) £8.00 (concessions) £6.00 (members)

Thursday 23 June at 7.30pm
The Beggar’s Theatre, Market Square, Millom, Cumbria LA18 4HZ
Box Office: 01229 775677
Tickets: £12.00 (full) £10.00 (concessions)



Preview: Gods Are Fallen And All Safety Gone at Newcastle Alphabetti Theatre

Greyscale presents:
Gods Are Fallen And All Safety Gone
Newcastle Alphabetti Theatre
Thursday 2nd – Saturday 4th June 2016

A mother and daughter from the local community join the cast on stage each night of the run, in a dynamic and subtle exploration of the most intense of family relationships 

Written and directed by Selma Dimitrijevic

Photos: picturesbybish
Borrowing its title from John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, this highly celebrated work from one of the UK’s foremost contemporary theatre companies explores a moment of realisation universal to all; a child’s eventual recognition of their parents as a fellow human being. The show, performed by a male cast, presents a lifetime of conversations all condensed into an hour of subtle and intimate performance, observed live by a real life mother and daughter from theatre’s local community.

You feel a sudden urgent need to call your own parents and children, fearful you might be a minute too late.’ Lyn Gardner, THE GUARDIAN

Photos: picturesbybish
‘Beautifully, cleverly and intelligently performed’ (Andrew Haydon, Postcards from the Gods) the performance plays out the story of a 30-something daughter visiting her aging mother, and depicts the most simple of conversations from baths, to tea, boyfriends and the weather. Using repetition with subtle developments and changes, the piece produces a dynamic analysis of a lifetime of interactions between the two, gently pulling apart an ever-evolving relationship with a distinctly inevitable end.

“It’s a very pure form of theatre – intimate, pared down and emotionally true.”Natasha Tripney, THE STAGE

Photos: picturesbybish
Director Selma Dimitrijevic said, When Almeida offered us a bit of time and money to develop a new project I knew I wanted to do our own version of Gods. The making of the show turned out to be the defining point for the company. It was at the same time the easiest and the most difficult thing we did as a team. We stripped it down to basics, two actors, two guests and the audience; so there is nowhere to hide. Every time we do it, we basically say: “here, this is who we are, this is what we feel”, and our fantastic audiences seem to be ready to do the same.’

“What a quiet, restrained and gently devastating piece this is!” Miriam Gillinson, TIME OUT

Photos: picturesbybish
Selma Dimitrijevic is artistic director of Greyscale. As a director and writer she has worked with a wide range of venues and companies both nationally and internationally.
Joe Caffrey played Dad in the original West End production of Billy Elliot and has toured with highly successful shows such as Cooking With Elvis and Wet House. 

Max Runham is a performer and a singer-songwriter. Proving his statement that ‘nothing should be a barrier to people with disability’ he has also been a parkour runner for the last ten years.

“This is searching, intelligent work that gently shakes us then quietly ends, leaving behind a bruise and an ache.” Sam Marlowe THE TIMES

Photos: picturesbybish
Greyscale is a Newcastle based theatre company formed by a group of established directors, writers, actors, and designers interested in exploring the fringes and gaps of the theatrical process. The company make carefully structured, powerfully live, political and anarchic theatre for a modern audience.
Gods Are Fallen And All Safety Gone has been touring in the UK and internationally for the last 4 years.

On The Web:
Twitter: @GreyscaleTC  #GodsAreFallen
Running Time: 55 minutes
Suitable for ages 14+
Cast & Creatives:
Written and Directed by Selma Dimitrijevic
Cast: Joe Caffrey and Max Runham
Associate Director Maria Crocker 
Designed by Oliver Townsend 

Spring 2016 tour dates:

4 – 6 May Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
8 & 10 May, tig7 Theatre, Mannheim, Germany
12 May, The Spring Arts Centre, Havant
14 May, Tolmen Centre, Cornwall
16 – 18 May, BrightonFestival, Spiegeltent, Brighton
22 May - DorchesterArts, Dorchester
24 May - Cambridge Junction, Cambridge
25 – 28 May, Bike Shed, Exeter

2 – 4 June, Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle Theatre Weblink
Show Begins: 7.30pm
Price: £10 Full Price / £8 Concession (Student, OAP, Artist)
Age Recommendation: 12+

7 June, Sheffield Theatres, Crucible Studio, Sheffield
9 June, Theatre Royal Winchester.

News: Search is on for a new Panto Star

The Search is on for a new Panto Star

Theatre bosses are looking for a new star to cast a spell over pantoland.

The Customs House in South Shields is searching for the perfect fairy to take part in their annual festive show. 

The venue will open its doors next week to Find the Fairy to star in Jack and the Beanstalk from November 29 to January 7.

Ray Spencer MBE
Customs House Executive Director Ray Spencer, who also co-writes, directs and stars in the show, said: “We are really interested to see who is out there. Whoever you are, from wherever you come, we’re looking forward to seeing you.”

The open audition will take place on Wednesday, May 4 from 11am to 6pm in the Mill Dam theatre’s main auditorium.

Actors attending the event should be over 18 and prepare a monologue and acapella song to perform. They are also asked to bring a photograph. 

Ray added: “This is not the first time we have held open auditions for our pantomime, we have held them a few times over the years and as a result cast Rosie Winter, who now presents on TV and radio, and West End actress Jamie Birkett who is currently in Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens in London.

“We can’t wait to see who we find to play our fairy this Christmas.”

The theatre’s annual show is known as The Little Panto with the Big Heart and has already sold 6,000.

Tickets for Jack and the Beanstalk are on sale now from £9.75. For tickets or more information contact the box office on 0191 454 1234 or