See Tickets


Preview: Making A Manuscript at Darlington Institute Room


Making A Manuscript
Darlington Institute Room
Wednesday 14th December 2016

An opportunity for budding writers to explore the world of Charles Dickens on Wednesday 14th December at 2.30pm.

As part of the Dickens in Darlington season, Darlington Civic Theatre is offering an exciting writing workshop, Making A Manuscript, where people can explore the world of Charles Dickens’ famous A Christmas Carol and be guided through Victorian London to consider the influence of Dickens’ own life within his works.

There will also be the opportunity to examine special editions of A Christmas Carol before writing your own Dickens-inspired Christmas tales using quill pens and ink.

This unique workshop will be led by Eleni Veltanioti from the Charles Dickens Museum in London.

Recommended age 16 and over.
Making A Manuscript is at the Institute Room, The Friends Meeting House, Skinnergate, Darlington on Wednesday 14 December at 2.30pm.
Tickets are priced at £5
To book contact the Box Office on 01325 486 555 or for more information visit
All proceeds to go directly to the Civic Theatre’s restoration fund. Darlington Civic Theatre Foundation, Registered Charity Number 147625.

News: Greyscale Theatre Company to take part in RTYDS

Greyscale Theatre Company to take part in Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS)

RTYDS announces successful applicants for its programmes starting in November 2016

Newcastle based Greyscale Theatre Company is one of just 5 theatre companies across England to join up with the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS), the country’s longest running and most influential training scheme for new directors. RTYDS helped launched the careers of Ken Loach, John Tiffany, Vicky Featherstone and Rupert Goold amongst others.

The Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS) was founded in 1960 by Howard Thomas, then Managing Director at ABC Television (subsequently part of Thames Television), to support aspiring theatre directors. It was his belief that television has a debt to live theatre for its supply of creative talent.

Many RTYDS alumni have enjoyed distinguished artistic careers in Britain’s theatre and film industry. They include Ken Loach, Roger Michell, Adrian Noble, Trevor Nunn and John Tiffany, many of whom have gone to lead organisations of their own including Michael Boyd (former RSC), Vicky Featherstone (Royal Court), Rupert Goold (Almeida), Dominic Hill (Glasgow Citizens Theatre), Jeremy Herrin (Headlong) and Natalie Ibu (Tiata Fahodzi). Last year RTYDS alumni Lorne Campbell, Nikolai Foster and James Dacre were appointed as first-time artistic directors to Northern Stage, Curve Theatre and Northampton Royal and Derngate respectively.

Local Director, Rebekah Bowsher will be joining Greyscale Theatre Company on a three-month placement where she will work alongside experienced theatre professionals gaining an invaluable insight into the work of a theatre director and developing her own career opportunities at the same time.

Rebekah Bowsher said “I am really excited to be working with Greyscale and Selma for this placement. I am looking forward to getting practical experience with a well respected theatre company and immersing myself in the North East theatre scene. “

Sue Emmas, RTYDS Artistic Director said “Through Introduction to Directing and Three-Month Placements, RTYDS creates pathways for talented directors from under-represented backgrounds to learn their craft, build networks and take the first step towards a career as a professional theatre director.  Directors should be reflective of the diversity of our towns and cities and RTYDS is working towards making this a reality.”

Selma Dimitrijevic, Greyscale Artistic Director said “I met Rebekah about a year ago through the fantastic Write To Play programme run by theatre company Graeae and have been a huge fan of her work since. She is exactly the kind of director – curious, determined and open minded – that we are very keen to support and work with in the future.”

On The Web:

RTYDS is funded by Arts Council England and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. 


Preview: Spring 2017 at Northern Stage

Spring 2017 at Northern Stage

Queens of the North
Spring at Northern Stage features ambitious new productions made in Newcastle alongside new work from some of the UK’s most exciting and innovative theatre companies. Plus comedy, dance, family shows and an eclectic programme in the newly transformed Stage 3 performance space. 

Queens of the North - a season of stories by women, about women, told through the eyes of women - launches with two headline co-productions from Northern Stage and Greyscale.

Dr Frankenstein
The first is based on one of the greatest novels in the English language; Dr Frankenstein opens at Northern Stage (3 Feb - 11 March) before touring. Following the story of a brilliant, visionary young woman born into a world not ready for her, Dr Victoria Frankenstein’s scientific experiments lead her to the very brink of human knowledge in Selma Dimitrijevic’s psychologically disturbing version of Mary Shelley’s classic drama, di-rected by Northern Stage Artistic Director, Lorne Campbell.

Hedda Gabler
The second is a new adaptation of Hedda Gabler (16 Feb - 8 March) written and directed by Greyscale Artis-tic Director, Selma Dimitrijevic. Often mistaken for a love story, Ibsen’s masterpiece - possibly the greatest stage role ever written for a woman - is actually a funny, shocking and powerful exploration of the nature of identity, and the desperation and absurdity of trying to be something you’re not.
Played on the same stage and performed by a 7-strong ensemble, both shows will be designed by Tom Piper MBE.

Earlier this year, Piper worked with former Northern Stage Artistic Director Erica Whyman on A Mid-summer Night’s Dream for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and won critical acclaim for his Poppies: Weep-ing Window installation with artist Paul Cummins which opened at the Tower of London in 2014 before tour-ing nationally. The ensemble are Polly Frame (The Odyssey, English Touring Theatre) who will play Dr Victo-ria Frankenstein, Victoria Elliott (Get Carter, Northern Stage) who will play Hedda Gabler, Ed Gaughan (The Birthday Party, Royal Exchange), Donald McBride (Pitmen Painters, Live Theatre), Libby Davison (The Bill, ITV), Scott Turnbull (Gods Are Fallen And All Safety Gone, Greyscale) and Rachel Denning (The Vote, Donmar

East is East
Returning to his native North East before directing the world premiere of Ravi Shankar’s only opera, Sukanya, Suba Das directs a new production of the Olivier Award-winning comedy that became a BAFTA-winning film, East is East (18 April - 13 May) in a Northern Stage/Nottingham Playhouse co-production.

From the writer of the critically-acclaimed Wet House (Live Theatre), Paddy Campbell’s new play Leaving (23 Feb - 4 March) draws on his own experience of working in a children’s home as well as taking inspiration from two real life stories of people who have been through the care system in a new Curious Monkey pro-duction directed by Amy Golding and developed at Northern Stage.

The Wedding
Visiting companies include Gecko, who return to Newcastle with brand new show; created by the company’s artistic director, Amit Lahav, The Wedding (30 March - 1 April) opens at Northern Stage before touring. Ac-claimed theatre company Cardboard Citizens presents Cathy (16-17 January) - a powerful and emotive show, provoking discussion and debate, inspired by Ken Loach’s pioneering drama, Cathy Come Home. Pilot Theatre are back with The Machine Stops (30 March) - EM Forster’s short story masterpiece published in 1909 is astoundingly prophetic and poignant in 2017: a chilling prediction and exploration of our increasingly complex relationship with technology. And hot on the heels of critically acclaimed 2015 and 2016 tours, groundbreaking learning-disability theatre company Mind the Gap present Contained (4-6 May) - a vibrant, compelling and personal production of nine interwoven true stories of the everyday and the extraordinary.

For dance fans, following a triumphant premiere in London, BalletBoyz are back with Life. (6-8 April) featur-ing work by internationally acclaimed choreographers; and Mark Murphy’s V-Tol: Out of This World (26-27 May) combines Murphy’s signature mix of aerial choreography with projected film and explosive special ef-fects.

The Twits
For families, children aged 6+ will be treated to a mischievous new production of Roald Dahl’s The Twits (21-25 March) from Curve, Leicester. While for younger children there’s a topsy-turvy re-telling of The Elves and the Shoemaker (20-22 April) for children aged 4+; the timeless classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar (18-19 May), and Dinosaur World (1-3 June) featuring remarkably life-like puppets, both for children aged 3+; and every first Saturday of the month, Chris Bostock, The Storyteller, captivates children aged 4-8 with tales of discovery and dreaming, with plenty of participation thrown in.

Jonny & the Baptists
After a short break to redevelop Northern Stage’s most intimate performance space, the Stage 3 programme is back with an eclectic mix of theatre, music, comedy, spoken word, poetry and scratch nights including one of comedy’s most exciting rising stars, Rachel Willan: On Record (9 March); a riotous new musical comedy about inequality, Jonny & the Baptists: Eat the Poor (28-29 March); and 2016 Fringe First award-winners Kieran Hurley: Heads Up (11-12 April) and Sh!t Theatre: Letters to Windsor House (3 May).

Susan Calman
Plus, live comedy from some of the UK’s best stand-ups including new shows from Mark Thomas (16 March), Andrew Lawrence (2 February), Dr Phil Hammond (15 February) and Susan Calman (6 March).

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


Preview: Naomi’s Wild & Scary Show at Newcastle Tyne Theatre

More family shows at Tyne Theatre & Opera House

Naomi’s Wild & Scary Show
Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House
Monday 17th April 2017

Children’s TV presenter Naomi Wilkinson is embarking on a nationwide tour in spring 2017, bringing her Wild & Scary Show to Tyne Theatre & Opera House on Monday 17th April 2017.

The show will be packed full of fun and surprises as Naomi is joined on stage by ‘Animal Mark’, and some of his scariest creatures. Join Naomi as she recalls some of her most exciting wildlife experiences from the far flung corners of the world and even introduces the audience to some of the most fierce and frightening animals she met along the way! The show is suitable for kids of all ages and guarantees a great time for the whole family.

Naomi’s Wild & Scary Show is just one of the many fantastic family friendly shows coming up at Tyne Theatre & Opera House. On Saturday 4th February we are thrilled to present the North East premiere of The First Hippo on the Moon, from bestselling children’s author David Walliams. This explosively funny space adventure for children of 3 and up follows two big hippos with one ENORMOUS dream…to make it to the moon first!

Find out everything you ever wanted to know about dinosaurs and more with the interactive So you think you know about Dinosaurs? on Monday 20th February. Test your knowledge against Ben Garrod, the TV scientist in Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur. Children will even have the chance to show off their dinosaur knowledge to the audience!

On Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th March the live stage version of award-winning children’s television show Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom comes to Tyne Theatre & Opera House. Hailing from the same animation studio as global preschool phenomenon Peppa Pig, this exciting musical adventure will bring all the magic of the show on the small screen to the stage, packed full of games, songs and laughter.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Tyne Theatre & Opera House this Easter with a fantastic all-new Easter pantomime version of The Wizard of Oz, starring Britain’s Got Talent winners Ashleigh & Pudsey as Dorothy and Toto and comedy legend Bobby Davroas Scarecrow. Presented by Enchanted Entertainment on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th April, the show will be packed with well-known pop songs, audience participation and plenty of laughter. 

You can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll love family favourite musical Annie, presented by Astravaganza Entertainment from Thursday 1st to Saturday 3rd June. The much-loved, award-winning classic includes the unforgettable songs Hard Knock Life, Easy Street, I Don’t Need Anything But You and Tomorrow. The perfect musical for the whole family to enjoy!

Theatre Director Joanne Johnson says: “After a fantastic 2016 for Tyne Theatre & Opera House that will end with our classic family favourite panto, I’m thrilled that we can present more shows for the whole family to enjoy. These shows will not only delight children, but parents too!”

Tickets for all shows available now from

The Tyne Theatre & Opera House Box Office is open 10am-3:30pm Monday to Friday and event days
Booking and Information Line: 0844 2491 000 (10am – 6pm Monday to Friday)
More information at our Website:
Theatre Address: 109 – 119 Westgate Road, Newcastle, NE1 4AG


Review: Jack and the Beanstalk at Durham Gala

Jack is Top Trumps for Durham

Jack and the Beanstalk
Durham Gala
Until Saturday 7th January 2017

A great panto has a clear story, lots of laugh for both the children and the adults, good pace, likeable characters and the set looks good too. Jack & The Beanstalk ticks off of those boxes and  leaves the audience happy at the end too.

Jack (Jamie Brown)
Written and directed by Neil Armstrong and Paul Hartley, the show features talented local actors. The references to the local area come across as genuine rather than learnt from a script.  There is real warmth to this show and it is easy to see why this team was so critically acclaimed with last year’s show.

Fleshcreep (Neil Armstrong)
This was our first time at The Gala panto’ and it left a very good impression upon us. Jack (Jamie Brown) lives happily in Spennymoor: a place where there are always smiles and everyone is happy – until Fleshcreep (Neil Armstrong) and his giant (Ethan Scott) appear.
Fairy Moonflower (Sally Collett)
They demolish the castle leaving the Princess Jilliana (Sarah Boulter) homeless. The princess ends up on Jack’s farm and his mother, Dame Trott (Paul Dunn) invite her for tea. Milkshake the cow (John Murdoch) is no longer producing milk so Jack’s silly brother Simon (Paul Hartley) is given the job to sell it and he ends up trading it for some magic beans…

Dame Trott (Paul Dunn)
Added to the Durham panto mix is the Fairy Moonflower (Sally Collett) who needs to gain back her magical power from Fleshcreep.

The show is supported by a live band perched up on the theatre circle; 4 dancers and one of 2 groups of 8 members of the Gala Theatre Stage School. The dancers and kids are much more than just window dressing and they get their own lines and songs too.

Dame Trott (Paul Dunn)
The audience get plenty to boo and cheer at. There are moments of silliness and mischief but the show doesn’t lose the plot. The set and costumes are suitably bright and cheerful. Jamie Brown is well suited to the role of the clean cut good guy. Neil Armstrong courts the jeers as the bad guy whilst Paul Hartley is silly enough without milking the crowd for laughs too much. Both Sally Collett and Sarah Boulter play strong characters, that both have their chance to set their wits against the bad guy.

Milkshake the cow (John Murdoch)
Jack & The Beanstalk is a warm, friendly panto’ appealling to audiences young and old. It was a fun, well-written 2 hours 40 minute production and we will be returning next year!

Review by Stephen Oliver - Follow on Twitter as @panic_c_button.

Read the NETG Preview:

Tickets priced from just £10 can be purchased from the Gala Box Office in person, by calling 03000 266 600, or online at

Preview: How Did We Get To This Point? at Newcastle Alphabetti

“This is an exhibition of us. It’s a journey of me, them and us as society.”

Alphabetti Theatre presents
How Did We Get To This Point?
As a Double Bill with
Wrong Place, Wrong Time
Newcastle Alphabetti Theatre
Tuesday 6th – Saturday 10th December 2016

Alphabetti Theatre is back with its final show of the season How Did We Get To This Point?, their alternative Christmas show in association with homeless charity, Crisis. This passionate, gently amusing and touching piece of verbatim theatre is written based on countless interviews and conversations with people that writer, Ali Pritchard, has met over a period of six years. These are people he met on the street, in hostels and those in foster care; real people with real stories. These stories, along with some of Ali’s own journey, are shared with you in this poignant and moving production.

Immediately following each performance will be a showing of the short piece, Wrong Place, Wrong Time written by Steve Byron. The script for Wrong Place, Wrong Time was based on a response to materials produced by the Crisis Skylight Newcastle Upon Tyne members, after a series of workshops hosted by Ali. He held six creative writing workshops using the script for How Did We Get To This Point? as inspiration to the members, in which they produced their own scripts, poems and short stories. Wrong Place, Wrong Time is a chilling reminder of the differences in our society, the struggles that different people face and how being in the wrong place at the wrong time can have devastating consequences.

How Did We Get To This Point?
Written by Ali Pritchard with dramaturgical support from Steve Byron and Directed by Ben Dickenson

This is Ali's story. Except it isn't.
It's the hidden truth of a five year struggle to build an independent theatre company. Except it's not.
It is many stories. Stories from homeless people, young people, people who get lost, people who've had enough. It is their truth. It is an investigation into where we live, the mess we’re in and the slope we’re going down. It is a story about change, both individually and in society.
A live musical score. Baths, a dog and the real words of dozens of people, the voices we would hear if only we chose to listen.
It all leads to a simple question: what has happened to our compassion?
Notice it, feel it. Change it.

Rosie Fox
Dean Logan
Rosie Stancliffe

Animator: Ben Walden
Composer: Haythem Mohamed

Wrong Place, Wrong Time
Written and Directed by Steve Byron
There is only so long you can poke a monkey with a stick before it grabs it off you and beats you with it.
Nicky is a gentle soul in a savage jungle trying to survive, and looking for acceptance within the right tribe.
Wrong Place, Wrong Time is a short piece about the results of nature vs nurture, and how wrong place, wrong time can have life effecting consequences.
Paula Penman

How Did We Get To This Point?  and Wrong Place, Wrong Time are supported using public funding by Arts Council England and sponsorship from Crisis.

Dates: Tuesday 6th – Saturday 10th December 2016
Time: 7.30pm
Ticket Prices: £8 Full Price / £6 Concession (Students, Senior Citizens, Artists/Equity)
Running Time: Approx. 1 hour and 30 mins including a short break in-between each play.

Venue:Alphabetti Theatre, The Basement, 18 New Bridge Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8AW


Preview: Jack & The Beanstalk at South Shields Customs House


Jack & The Beanstalk
South Shields Customs House
Tuesday 29th November 2016 - Saturday 7th January 2017

More than 20,000 tickets have already been snapped up for this year’s Customs House panto.

The Jack & The Beanstalk Cast
The milestone figure for Jack and Beanstalk has been achieved a week quicker than last year, and several performances are already virtually sold out.

“It’s great news and quite humbling in a way,” said Customs House Executive Director Ray Spencer MBE, who is once again starring in and directing the show. Ray also co-wrote the panto with long-time collaborator Graeme Thompson.

Ray Spencer MBE
“We can’t wait to get in front of an audience, and it’s thrilling to hear so many tickets have already been sold. We never take our audience for granted and are so grateful for the loyalty of so many panto fans who return year after year to see our show.  Jack and the Beanstalk is a traditional pantomime, but we’re keeping it fresh with some great modern touches which I’m sure our audiences will love.  We’ve long been known as ‘the little panto with the big heart,’ but this year we’ll be the little panto with the giant heart,” said Ray.

The Christmas Eve performance has extremely limited availability, and only a few tickets remain for the evening performance on December 23.

Luke Maddison
Ray will be returning as the Dame, while panto regulars Luke Maddison (Jack) and Steven Lee Hamilton (Fleshcreep) will also also have audiences laughing and singing along. Luke said he was thrilled to be playing Jack: “This will be my fifth Customs House panto and I’m so grateful to have been given my first principal boy role alongside such an amazing cast. The Customs House shows are as special for the cast as the audience – it’s a long run, but we thoroughly enjoy what is a unique production.”

Ray’s daughter Natasha Haws will play the principal girl and Gareth Hunter will play her dad, The Mayor.
Making their debuts in a Customs House panto are David John Hopper as Arbuthnot, the Dame’s son, and Eleanor Chaganis, as the Fairy.

For the seventh consecutive year, the show’s set and costumes will be designed by Paul Shriek and Matt Fox.

Eleanor Chaganis
Ray added: “More than 25,000 people came to see Alice in Wonderland last year and both the critics and audiences loved the show. So we have a lot to do to match last year’s success, but we have a fantastic cast, amazing costumes and set design and some extra touches of panto magic so we’re hoping to match, or even beat, last year’s success.  Tickets are selling really quickly, so book up now as I'd hate anyone to miss out,” he said.

Jack and the Beanstalk is on from
November 29, 2016 to January 7, 2017.
Tickets start from £9.75 and are available from the box office on 0191 454 1234 or by visiting