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Preview: Petrification at Newcastle Live Theatre

Award Winning Theatre Makers premiere Petrification at Live Theatre

Newcastle Live Theatre
Thursday 26th- Saturday 28th May 2016

Presented by Telltale in association with LittleMighty.  Petrification, a new play written by Zoe Cooper (Nativities, Live Theatre) and directed by Mark Maughan (National Theatre, Paines Plough) will make its premiere at Live Theatre in May.

“You can sense the buzz developing from Petrification”
 – British Theatre Guide

Award winning theatre makers Zoe Cooper and Mark Maughan have come together to create a new theatre production Petrification that will begin its national tour on Live Theatre’s main stage from Thursday 26 to Saturday 28 May.  The show boasts an engaging and innovative script that recreates the atmosphere of a booze-fuelled night out at the pub.

Simon and Sean’s dad is dead. Returning home from London, Simon is shocked to find Sean in a relationship with a man called Aidan. Sean is irritated by Simon’s new cosmopolitan ways. And Aidan? He just wants to be part of the family.

Attempting to find common ground, they head for a night out in Gateshead.  But before long they’re arguing. What is it about the memory of a childhood trip to Whitby that sets them off? Darts, pints and fists fly across the room, as past and present collide with dizzying consequences. Joining the characters in the pub, the audience is thrust into the heart of one family’s search for truth.

Petrification began its life at the Gateshead International Festival of Theatre (GIFT) in May 2013, originally developed as a thirty-minute piece on a shoestring budget. The show was awarded festival prizes from Northern Stage and Live Theatre, which secured time and space to develop the full-length play. Over the summer of 2013, the company successfully applied for an Arts Council England Grants for the Arts award. This enabled the company to expand the creative team and realise a full-length draft of the script, ready to take to full production.

The show was later shortlisted for the Kevin Spacey Foundation Award, making the final round of 6 from over 1000 applications. The show will now premiere at Live Theatre, before heading out on an extensive UK tour.

Writer Zoe Cooper and director Mark Maughan lead Telltale’s work, having first met while working at Live Theatre. They then collaborated on the Old Vic New Voices 24 hour plays project, cementing the creative partnership and fuelling the decision to make more work together. They make bold, ambitious theatre telling stories from their native Northeast in extraordinary ways.

Zoe’s credits as a playwright include Nativities (Live Theatre), Utopia (Live Theatre / Soho Theatre), The Winter’s Tale (adaptation for The Globe Theatre), Longshore Drift (Old Vic New Voices) and Learning How to Swim (ATC/Root Theatre). She has also had work developed or produced with the RSC and National Theatre Studios, as well as with Ovalhouse, Theatre503, Nabakov and the Tristan Bates Theatre.

Mark has recently worked as staff director on the National Theatre’s hugely successful production of Les Blancs. Other credits include Made in China’s Tonight I’m Gonna Be The New Me, How Was It for You? (Brighton Dome), Address Unknown (JW3 for Soho Theatre) and The Money $hot Cabaret. He was resident trainee director at Paines Plough.

Director Mark Maughan explained “This is a play for anyone who’s ever left home and come back to find everything changed. And also for anyone who never went away in the first place. We hope the show is immersive, incisive and intoxicating.”

Writer Zoe Cooper addedThe play was partly inspired by my family’s annual holiday growing up. Each year my family returned to the same beach, giving me a host of memories, through toddler tantrums to teenage friendships formed in a day and then forgotten. When I compare my memories to those of my sister’s I was really aware that there are loads of gaps and differences in what we recall. I have also wanted to write something about the north/south divide for a while, as well as the ways class can split a family – especially when everyone is forced to spend too much time together!”

The show’s cast will be announced soon.

Telltale’s work is produced by LittleMighty. The company works with remarkable artists to make brilliant theatre happen. Recent successes include Move to Stand’s Fat Man (“For theatre like this I’d follow them anywhere” – The Times); Unfolding Theatre’s Lands Of Glass (“charming, harmonizing, enchanting” – The Telegraph) and Testament’s Blake Remixed, a co-production with West Yorkshire Playhouse (“An entertaining fusion of hip-hop, rap and beatboxing that thrusts the Blake mythology into the 21st century – The Stage).

@we_are_telltale / @littlemightyuk / #Petrification


Written by Zoe Cooper
Directed by Mark Maughan
Design by Emma Bailey
Lighting Design by Josh Pharo
Sound Design by Guy Connelly
Produced by LittleMighty

Development supported by Live Theatre, Northern Stage, GIFT and the Kevin Spacey Foundation.


Petrification comes to Newcastle’s Live Theatre from Thursday 26 – Saturday 28 May at 7.30pm and a matinee on Saturday 28 May at 2pm
£18 - £10 full, £16 -£12 over 60s, £10 - £6 other concessions
Box Office: (0191) 232 1232
Running time: 75mins / Suitable for ages 14+

Future Tour Dates

2 June: The Victorian Craft Beer Cafe
In Association with Halifax Square Chapel Centre for the Arts Plays in Pubs

3 June: Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal

15 June: Customs House, South Shields

16 June: CAST, Doncaster

18 June: The Lowry, Salford Quays

20 - 22 June: Pub gigs with 2’s Company Festival in association with Harrogate Theatre
20 June - The Mitre Inn, Knaresborough
21 June - So Bar, Ripon
22 June - Tap and Spile, Harrogate

26 June: The HUB, Leeds

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