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Preview: The James Plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal


The James Plays 
Newcastle Theatre Royal
Saturday 30thApril to Sunday 1st May 2016

Photo: Manuel Harlan
Shoppers and commuters were stopped in their tracks on Friday as the three kings, James I, James II and James III graced the steps of the Theatre Royal before hitting the stage on Saturday and Sunday in the epic trilogy of plays.  The three kings brought a touch of regal to the theatre to give passers-by a sneak peek of what to expect from their epic performance in The James Plays is at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Saturday 30thApril to Sunday 1st May 2016.

A trilogy of plays described as “better than Shakespeare” by The Telegraph and as “Scotland’s answer to Game of Thrones” by the Daily Record is coming to Newcastle Theatre Royal.

Photo: Manuel Harlan
The James Plays, by Rona Munro are an exhilarating and vividly imagined trio, bringing to life three generations of Stewartkings who ruled Scotland from 1406 -1488. Each play stands alone as a unique vision of a country tussling with its past and future, with its own distinct theatrical atmosphere. Viewed together they create a complex and compelling narrative on Scottish culture and nationhood. These historical dramas have been written for a contemporary audience and are served up with a refreshing modern directness.

Photo: Manuel Harlan
In a break from the norm, a select number of seats for the performances are on stage; built into the set, these seats are at heart of the action and allow the audience members sitting there to share the performer’s perspective of the space, and become witness to an ensemble of actors taking the audience through a rarely-explored period of history with playful wit and boisterous theatricality.

Photo: Manuel Harlan
The James Plays by Rona Munro, and directed by Laurie Sansom played to sell-out houses of over 88,000 people during the opening run at the Festival Theatre Edinburgh and subsequently at the Olivier Theatre, National Theatre, London.

Described by The Telegraph as “better than Shakespeare” and “Rona Munro's thrilling trilogy could be the finest history plays ever penned” the plays went on to win the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best New Play and the Writers Guild Award for Best New Play (James I).

Photo: Manuel Harlan
Laurie Sansom, Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland and Director of The James Plays says:  "The excitement we all felt at embarking on this journey to bring to life a little known part of Scottish history and stage Rona's remarkable trilogy, was only matched by the excitement of sharing it with audiences at the EIF and at the National Theatre in London. We now have the chance to share it with audiences across the UK which will be a real privilege. We are indebted to all the partners who have made this possible, including the Scottish Government."

Lisa Burger, Executive Director of the National Theatre of Great Britain, says: "Our collaboration with the National Theatre of Scotland on Laurie Sansom’s unforgettable production of The James Plays was undoubtedly one of last year’s highlights, setting the Olivier Theatre alight with exhilarating energy every evening.  We’re delighted that Rona Munro’s tremendous trilogy will live again for audiences around the country."

Photo: Manuel Harlan
The roles of the three James’ will be played by Steven Miller (Casualty, Black Watch) as James I, Matthew Pidgeon (RSC’sWolf Hall, Edward II, The Wonderful World of Dissocia) as James III, and Andrew Rothney who returns as James II. Other new cast members include John Stahl (Game of Thrones, Being Human), Andrew Still (Black Swan, Hollyoaks), Dani Heron (I Am Me, Casualty), Sally Reid (Rab C. Nesbit, Scot Squad), Brian James, and Rosemary Boyle. They join Blythe Duff, Peter Forbes, Daniel Cahill, David Mara, Andrew Fraser, Fiona Wood, Nick Elliot, and Ali Craig who return to the trilogy from the original cast.

The James Plays is at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Saturday 30th April to Sunday 1st May 2016. Tickets from £42.50 (save 50p per ticket online). All tickets can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge) or book online at

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