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News: Exciting Spring 2018 Programme at Newcastle’s Northern Stage

Exciting Spring 2018 Programme at Newcastle’s  Northern Stage

Tickets from £10, priority booking opens 2 November

The spring 2018 season at Northern Stage features ambitious new productions made in Newcastle, including the UK premiere of Sting’s The Last Ship, alongside new shows from some of the UK’s most exciting and innovative theatre companies. Plus comedy, dance, shows for children and young people and an eclectic programme in the intimate Stage 3 performance space.

A brand new production of Sting’s The Last Ship will open at Northern Stage (12 March – 7 April) before a national tour. Directed by Northern Stage Artistic Director Lorne Campbell and starring Jimmy Nail, Sting’s personal, political and passionate musical comes home to Newcastle in an epic tale of community, hope and a great act of collective defiance.

Lorne Campbell, Sting &
Jimmy Nail
Photo: Mark Savage
A Northern Stage production in association with Karl Sydow and Kathryn Schenker, The Last Ship tells the story of a community amid the demise of the shipbuilding industry in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, with the closure of the town's shipyard. Director Lorne Campbell says, “It is a great pleasure and a privilege to be bringing this new version of The Last Ship to Newcastle. Sting's score is steeped deep in the traditions of Northumbrian music and this epic story is fundamental to the identity of the people of the North East. This is a story of community, of resilience and how in even the very darkest of moments, hope and possibility re-main.”

Northern Stage has expanded its pioneering NORTH programme beyond actor training to include staging and touring a new production, offering four emerging actors from the North East the opportunity to perform professionally with the theatre in Spring 2018. The maiden production will be a new adaptation of H.G. Wells' classic sci-fi story of survival, The War of the Worlds (31 Jan – 10 Feb), written by Laura Lindow (Key Change, Open Clasp) with sound design by Mariam Rezaei (A Song for Ella Grey, Northern Stage), and directed by Elayce Ismail, recipient of the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme’s pilot Associate Director-ship to prepare directors for artistic leadership.

This vivid and dynamic new production relocates the story to the North East of England, where a band of sur-vivors confront a Martian invasion against the backdrop of 1898 Newcastle. Director Elayce Ismail explains, “Setting the story in the North East has given us a brilliant opportunity to reveal the secrets of this area and delve into its rich and evocative past. We’re really excited to be bringing this part of the world to life on stage for our audiences.”

Following on from the success of David Almond’s A Song for Ella Grey in which more than 50 young people worked with the creative team to create a virtual Greek chorus, Northern Stage Young Company presents Where Do We Stand (25-28 April). Collectively written by a team of professional writers, and co-produced and co-authored by young people from across North East England, Where Do We Stand will combine spoken word, live music, physical and virtual landscapes to tell stories of what it is to live, work and dream in Newcastle in 2018. Led by Associate Director Louie Ingham, and thanks to funding awarded by the Clothworkers Foundation in 2016, Northern Stage has expanded Young Company to give more 16-21 year olds from disadvantaged communities open access to a diverse and innovative programme offering new opportunities to explore key roles and areas of theatre making through practical workshops in Theatre De-sign, Composition, Directing, Production and Stage Management.

Offbeat romantic comedy Frankie & Johnny in the Clair de Lune (21 May - 2 June) will be directed by Northern Stage Associate Director Mark Calvert (James & the Giant Peach, Northern Stage). Written by American playwright Terrence McNally who also wrote the screenplay for the hit 1991 film starring Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer, the play started life off-Broadway in 1987 and is an intimate look at the first fragile moments of risking your heart and taking a chance. Casting to be announced early 2018.

Hamlet - Photo: Manuel Harland
The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) will bring its acclaimed production of Hamlet to Northern Stage (20-24 February). Originally seen in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2016, Hamlet will tour the UK before transferring to London’s Hackney Empire in March. Directed by Simon Godwin, the production will see RSC Associate Artist Paapa Essiedu reprise his award-winning performance in the title role as one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragic heroes. Paapa Essiedu won Best Performance in a Play at the UK Theatre Awards in 2016 for his role as Hamlet. Other RSC credits include Edmund in King Lear, Fenton in The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Mouse and his Child. Additional theatre credits include King Lear (National Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Tobacco Factory) and he played Demetrius in Russell T Davies’ adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for BBC1 (2016).

Complicité present a reimagined version of A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer (7-10 February), a collaboration with performance artist Bryony Kimmings. Known for her unique take on taboo topics – from her sexual health (Sex Idiot), to her boyfriend’s depression (Fake It ’Til You Make It), Kimmings’ acclaimed collaboration with Complicité blows everything you think you know about cancer out of the water. Originally a co-production with the National Theatre in association with HOME Manchester, Kirsty Housley, Co-Director of The Encounter and long-term Complicité collaborator will direct, with writer Bryony Kimmings leading the company in this reworked production touring the UK before heading to Australia.

Black Men Walking (15-17 February) by writer and award-winning beat boxer Testament is the first national tour born from Revolution Mix - a three year movement to create and produce an ambitious body of work telling Black British stories. An Eclipse Theatre Company and Royal Exchange Theatre co-production, Dawn Walton will direct this story of a black men’s walking group in Sheffield.

Third Angel and Northern Stage present The Department of Distractions (2-10 February), a consipiracy theory documentary for the 21st century. Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal are co-producing a new adaption of Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock (1-5 May) by acclaimed writer Bryony Lavery. LIFT present Lola Arias’ Minefield (22-24 March) - a collaboratively created work with Falklands/Malvinas war veterans merging theatre and film. Javaad Alipoor brings The Believers Are But Brothers (14-16 June); this Fringe First award winning multi-media show exploring an online world of fantasy, gaming and extremism was a huge hit in the Northern Stage at Summerhall programme at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe. And Phoenix Dance Com-pany celebrate the 70th anniversary of SS Empire Windrush’s arrival bringing the first Caribbean migrants to the UK with Windrush: Movement of the People (9-10 May).

For families and young people, Theatre Alibi’s The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon (6-7 April) features live music and puppetry to tell a fantastical story for 6-11 year olds from the novel by award-winning writer David Almond; Highly Sprung present Fall Out (13-14 March) - a high-energy physical theatre performance set in a nightclub for young people age 14+; Showstopper! (17 February) offer an afternoon family show of their must-see improvised musical; The Owl & the Pussycat (13-17 February) from Kitchen Zoo uses puppets and live music to bring to life an unexpected ted telling of Edward Lear’s classic tale for 3-7 year olds; and on the first Saturday of every month The Storyteller Chris Bostock shares stories from all over the world with children aged 5-8 and their grown-ups.

Ruby Wax
Photo: Steve Ullathorne
Comedy, live music and spoken word includes Sophie Willan: Branded (15 March) - fresh from a sell to run at the Edinburgh Fringe Branded; Ruby Wax: Frazzled (20-21 April); Newcastle Poetry Festival (3-5 May); and Sunderland’s Mercury Prize Award-nominated Field Music launch their sixth album Open Here (2-3 February) with three specially staged shows at Northern Stage.

The Stage 3 programme will feature an eclectic mix of theatre, music, comedy, spoken word, poetry and scratch nights which will be announced later in the year.


Tickets for most shows start at £10 and will go on sale to members on 2 November and on general sale on 9 November. For full details or to book tickets see  or call the box office on 0191 230 5151.

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