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Preview: Autumn 2016 at Newcastle Northern Stage

Autumn 2016 at Newcastle's Northern Stage

This autumn, Northern Stage offers an exciting, diverse and wide-ranging season of work featuring home-grown productions alongside new work from some of the country’s most exciting and innovative theatre companies and shows fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe.

Opening the season is The Season Ticket (23 Sept – 8 Oct) - an update on the story that inspired hit British film Purely Belter (FilmFour). Directed by Pilot Theatre’s Associate Director Katie Posner and adapted from Jonathan Tulloch’s novel by Lee Mattinson, it’s a story of friendship, family and football that follows two young working class Geordies as they try to raise enough money to buy a season ticket for their beloved Newcastle United.

Lorne Campbell, Artistic Director, Northern Stage explains “We are delighted to be collaborating with the multi-award winning Pilot Theatre on a new version of Jonathan Tulloch’s brilliant story by the hugely talented Newcastle-based writer Lee Mattinson. This tale of two lads from the wrong side of the tracks is a funny, human and moving story about the possibility, strength and imagination of young men too often written off by society.”

Working with Northern Stage for the first time, award-winning writer Lee Mattinson will adapt Jonathan Tulloch’s novel for the stage. Lee’s previous work includes Me and Cilla for BBC Radio 3, Coronation Street for ITV and for stage Snap (Young Vic), Gary Lineker is Gay (Paines Plough), Chalet Lines (Bush Theatre/Live Theatre). Lee said: “Working on The Season Ticket has been as much of a rollercoaster as a football season and the first time I’ve adapted a novel for the stage. With a text so rich in landscape and character, the struggle was deciding what to leave out, whilst making it a piece of theatre in and of itself.

“The novel crackles with such heartfelt dialogue and hopeful determination that Gerry and Sewell’s world was already an incredibly tactile one, an environment that it was a gift to disappear into. I’m a huge fan of its previous incarnation, Purely Belter and, hopefully, the play is not only a re-telling of this Geordie institution but also a fresh take on what it means to belong in 2016.”

Open auditions for two young North East actors for the lead roles are being held in Newcastle in June, and the full cast will be announced in July. The Season Ticket will go on a national tour after opening at Northern Stage including York Theatre Royal, Theatre Royal Winchester and Dundee Rep. 

Fresh from Northern Stage’s Edinburgh Fringe programme at Summerhall, Unfolding Theatre present Putting the Band Together (28-30 Sept) - a personal story about revisiting forgotten dreams and lost passions inspired by deviser and terminal Pancreatic Cancer sufferer Mark Lloyd’s wish to “put his old band back together”. This uplifting new performance features a talented cast led by singer and guitarist of The Future-heads, Ross Millard alongside a house band of local ex-players at every venue on the tour.

Multiple Fringe First award-winning duo RashDash return from the Edinburgh festival with Two Man Show (6-8 Oct), a playful performance on masculinity, gender and language with original music by Manchester-based composer and musician, Becky Wilkie.

Visiting companies include new writing from David Greig in the first ever English production of one of the world’s oldest plays, Aeschylus’ The Suppliant Women (3-5 Nov). Written more than 2,500 years ago, the story of 50 women who leave everything behind when they board a boat in North Africa to seek asylum in Greece bears particular relevance today in this new co-production by Actors Touring Company with Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and will feature a chorus of 50 local female performers and is directed by Ramin Gray.

The Wardrobe Ensemble tells the story of the class of '72 with a handsome funk guitarist and some space-hoppers in 1972: The Future of Sex (18-19 Oct).
Tangled Feet return with Kicking and Screaming (13-15 Oct) - an honest, funny and touching show about becoming a parent for the first time with a live score played on children's instruments.
Northumberland Touring Company in association with The Bijli Project will present How to Make a Killing in Bollywood (3-4 Nov) - a brand new comedy about two best friends who decide to quit their jobs in a fast food restaurant and head to Bollywood in search of fame and fortune.

For families and young people Bare Toed Dance Company and Juice Festival present Downside-Up (24-25 Oct) - an interactive aerial dance show during half term. Oily Cart creates a multi-sensory, tactile feast for the senses in Mirror, Mirror (27-28 Oct). Thrillingly spectacular circus skills blend seamlessly with physical comedy, clowning, juggling, theatrical storytelling and slapstick in The Hogwallops (28-29 Oct) from Lost in Translation Circus.

The Shakespeare Schools Festival (17-22 Oct) returns with a series of unique per-formances by schoolchildren from all over the North East.

Christmas at Northern Stage is going to be bigger than ever with a brand new production of David Wood’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s James and The Giant Peach (19 Nov – 31 Dec) from the same team who created The Wonderful Wizard of Oz last year. Artistic Director Lorne Campbell says, “This Christmas we’re making a truly spectacular production of James and The Giant Peach. So giant, in fact, that we will be opening out ‘the Epic Space’ to accommodate it. Putting Stages One and Two together gives us one of the largest stages in the country and we are aiming to fill it with Roald Dahl's epic tale of a young man and his incredible journey with his weird and wonderful friends.

“And for younger children we are going to be collaborating with pioneering North East children’s theatre company Theatre Hullabaloo and Theatre lolo to present Luna (6-31 Dec) for 2-4 year olds in Stage Three. Magical, intimate and beautiful it promises to be a truly remarkable show for our youngest audiences and their families.

For dance fans, the phenomenal Ballet Black (11-12 Oct) comes to Newcastle for the first time with a triple bill of new collaborations from three bold and inventive choreographers. Christopher Hampson’s Storyville is the bittersweet fable of Nola, a farm girl who falls prey to unscrupulous characters and worldly desires in 1920s New Orleans, set to the haunting music of Kurt Weill. The Begin, Beginis a newly devised piece by Christopher Marney (fresh from McQueen) and Cristaux, a duet by Arthur Pita, who previously choreo-graphed a hit ballet version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

There will be stand-up comedy from Andy Hamilton (15 October) with new show Change Management – Andy started his career writing for satirical sketch show Not the Nine O’clock News, co-created cult Channel 4 comedy Drop the Dead Donkey and more recently BBC ONE’s Outnumbered and is a regular guest on TV panel shows such as QI and Have I Got News For You.

Lorne Campbell: “With Noises Off running on our main stage, Julie in rehearsal, preparations underway for our Edinburgh programme and exciting work across all of our stages this Autumn I am very proud to say that Northern Stage is busier than it has ever been. Alongside our reputation for creating truly ambitious work we are trying to open our doors ever wider to ensure that we make work with, for and by all of the creative passionate and diverse people of the North East.”

For full details or to book tickets see call the box office on 0191 230 5151.

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