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Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Preview: Sara Pascoe at Newcastle Tyne Theatre


Sara Pascoe: LadsLadsLads
Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House
Thursday 1st November 2018

Tyne Theatre and Opera House are excited to welcome multi-award-winning comedian Sara Pascoe to their stage for the first time on Thursday 1st November with her smash hit Edinburgh Fringe and complete sell out West End show LadsLadsLads.

LadsLadsLads is Pascoe’s most honest, heartfelt and personal show to date. Full of jokes, hope and white wine, LadsLadsLads is the thinking person's stag do*. The show follows the huge success of the sold out 'Animal' tour (inspired by Sara’s acclaimed book of the same name, published by Faber and Faber).

Over the last year, Sara has starred on Let’s Sing and Dance for Comic Relief (making it to the Final); adapted Pride and Prejudice for the Nottingham Playhouse/ York Theatre Royal; filmed a solo stand up special for TV: Sara Pascoe Live from the BBC; hosted an episode of Live at the Apollo and appeared as a weekly guest on Frankie Boyle’s New World Order.

Sara has also been seen on television shows ranging from Have I Got News For You, QI and Travel Man and filmed and co-stared in the most recent WIA series. Sara is presently writing her second book, Sex Power Money and her forthcoming BBC Radio 4 series, Modern Monkey (due to air next month).

*Not for an actual stag do, PLEASE. Do bring a polite friend, your mamma, someone you hope to seduce or a book for the interval.

Sara Pascoe is the latest addition to Tyne Theatre & Opera House’s jam-packed comedy line-up for 2018, featuring the likes of Ed Byrne, Katherine Ryan, Tim Vine, Count Arthur Strong and more. The theatre has also just announced another two Sarah Millican dates on 4th and 7th October due to phenomenal demand, meaning Sarah will now be performing a whopping 11 dates of her Control Enthusiast show at the theatre across 2018. (Tickets for these Sarah Millican dates go on sale Friday 2nd February from 10am).

Theatre director Joanne Johnson says: “Our comedy line-up for 2018 is constantly growing, with more shows still to be announced! The biggest names in comedy are coming to tread the boards of our beautiful theatre, and we’re now the go-to venue for comedy in Newcastle. After a sell-out Tyne Theatre debut for Jason Cook’s Comedy Club in January, we’re thrilled to announce it will return on Saturday 16th June, and we’ve also recently announced Stewart Francis will visit us as part of his last ever tour on Thursday 28th November. Many of these shows are selling out, so we recommend booking well in advance!”


Tickets for Sara Pascoe are priced at £18.50 or £14.50 concessions (students with ID, senior citizen or unwaged). Tickets will be available from our affiliate Eventim UK tickets from 10am Thursday: http://bit.ly/2nlYz1i


(Age restriction 15+)


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Tuesday, 30 January 2018

News: Arts Centre Washington’s Spring season has a superb selection of shows for all!


Arts Centre Washington’s Spring season has a superb selection of shows for all!

Including tin foil astronauts, tap dance spectaculars, lonely noses, outlaw vicars and an alien invasion!

Highlights of the theatre programme include:
Circled in the Radio Times - Thursday 22 March. The new storytelling show from John Osborne (creator of John Peel's Shed) about how finding an old collection of copies of the Radio Times leads to him piecing together the life of the previous owner, and looks at the changing nature of the way all of us watch television.

If I Say Jump (Common Chorus) - Thursday 19 April.  Jenny’s a vicar. But she’s got problems. Her creepy ex-husband keeps sending her flowers and won’t sign the divorce papers. The church hall is being renovated by a dodgy builder, who’s being investigated by the police. And her best friend Danny has turned up in the vestry with a gun. A bold and exhilarating tale of contemporary Britain!

War of the Worlds - Friday 6 April, The critically-acclaimed Pantaloons invade the stage in this funny yet faithful new adaptation as they use musical instruments, puppetry and, um, enthusiasm to recreate deadly heat-rays, giant fighting-machines, squidgy tentacled Martians and interplanetary warfare on an epic scale. The chances of success? A million to one.

Testosterone (Rhum and Clay / Kit Redstone) - Thursday 3 May. Performer Kit Redstone is in an amusing and unique position, having transitioned from female to male in his early thirties, he has experienced adult life on both sides of the gender fence, giving him the opportunity to notice what differences there are in how he is treated by society - what he gains and what he loses by becoming a man. However, his biggest challenge comes when he enters a male gym changing room for the first time and is confronted by masculinity in all its forms. Comic theatre exploring masculinity and gender identity. Winner of the best theatre show award at the Pleasance 2017 & nominated for the Peter Brook Empty Space Award 2017.

Austen’s Women (Dyad Productions) - Wednesday 23 May.  Thirteen of Jane Austen’s heroines come to life in this bold revisiting of some of literature’s most celebrated works.  Rebecca Vaughn stars in this crtically acclaimed one woman tour de force.

As ever the centre has a fantastic programme of theatre for children and families, such as:

The Tin Foil Astronaut (Kitchen Zoo) - Saturday 10 February.  From the makers of The Owl and the Pussycat comes a new cosmic adventure to outer space.   This is a story of discovery and individuality and a celebration of differences for 3-7 year olds and told with live music and puppetry.


The Nose That Nobody Picked - Saturday 17 February.  A rip snorting musical for all the family adapted for stage from the award winning book by David Parkin. Suitable for ages 5+ and families. One day Christopher a keen, but unorthodox gardener, finds a living nose raised by slugs in his garden.
In his hunt to find Little Big Nose a face, he encounters Doctor Skinner (Pete Shenton, New Art Club), an eccentric plastic surgeon, who has connections to the nose’s past, and sinister intentions for his future.
The Ginger Bread Man - Sunday 4 March. Hiccup Theatre cook up a brand new version of this classic tale adding delicious original live music, tasty storytelling and dollops of fun for children aged 3+.  

Oskar’s Amazing Adventure (Theatre Fideri Fidera) Wednesday 4 April.  An original and heart-warming play for younger children aged 2+.  Adapted from the picture book of the same name, this interactive show follows the adventure of a little puppy called Oskar. 
If tap dance is your thing then you do not want to miss ‘Fall Out’ (Saturday 2 June) by Old Kent Road.  Five dancers accompanied by a live band take us on a journey of what it’s like to fall in and out of love.
Arts Centre Washington’s theatre is also very well used by amateur theatre groups and this March they play host to the very first Durham and Sunderland One Act Festival (7 – 10 March).  Part of the All England Theatre Festival, local amateur groups will be performing one plays in the hope of going through to the Northern Semi Final in May.


Tickets
For more information on all Arts Centre Washington events visit
www.artscentrewashington.co.uk
or call 0191 561 3455. 


Preview: A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer at Newcastle Northern Stage


Complicité Associates and Bryony Kimmings
A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer
Newcastle Northern Stage
Wednesday 7th – Saturday 10th  February 2018

When performance artist Bryony Kimmings was approached by Complicité to create a new show, the invitation came from producer Judith Dimant - who had just received a cancer diagnosis. Never one to shy away from creating art from life, Bryony asked Judith if she wanted to make a production about cancer. 

What followed was a baptism of fire, and an unexpected journey into the ‘Kingdom of the Sick’ - following patients, meeting doctors and learning from world experts, including Dr Kathryn Mannix from the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. What Bryony didn't know is how far into the Kingdom she would fall.


A Pacifist’s Guide… will blow everything you think you know about cancer out of the water. This funny and moving show will look behind the poster campaigns and pink ribbons at the reality of cancer: newfound friendships, pain and death, mundane treatment cycles, hairlessness and scars...with songs. 

Bryony Kimmings said, “This musical began as a seed in 2014. So much has happened since its inception. A four year labour of love. It begins with Judith the producer of Complicité having breast cancer, it moves through two years following beautiful patients, me having a baby, Judith going into remission, some deaths and some huge life changes. All the time writing music! I wasn’t able to be in the original production for tragic personal reasons so I am over the moon that I am able to step into it for this tour. We are thrilled to have had the time to reimagine and develop the musical since its first incarnation at the National Theatre, which we can’t wait to share with audiences across the UK and Australia.”

North East palliative care expert and author of With the End in Mind, Dr Kathryn Mannix was asked to advise the writing team about what dying is like. She explains, “After describing the process we so commonly see to the writers, they actually wrote it into the doctor's script. I have had thank-you messages from people who were profoundly comforted by hearing an explanation.  All based on taped interviews with real patients, this show is a witness to a truth we all recognise: the biggest enemy is not cancer, but fear that breeds in the silence. I'd love to think that this piece of theatre could open up discussion across the country.”

First seen in 2016 at HOME, Manchester and the National Theatre where it received critical acclaim, the production will be revived and re-worked for UK and Australian touring in 2018 including dates at Northern Stage in Newcastle. Kirsty Housley, Co-Director of The Encounter and long-term Complicité collaborator will direct, with writer Bryony Kimmings performing in the production. 

A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer is at Northern Stage Newcastle (7-10 February) before touring to Australia.

On The Web:
#APacifistsGuide

Cast and Creatives:
 Complicité Associates and Bryony Kimmings
 Written by Bryony Kimmings and Brian Lobel with Kirsty Housley
Music by Tom Parkinson Directed by Kirsty Housley

Performers
Eva Alexander
Bryony Kimmings
Gemma Storr
Lottie Vallis
Lara Veitch
Elexi Walker  

Set and Costume Design  Lucy Osborne
Choreography           Sarah Blanc
Lighting Design      Marec Joyce
Sound Design          Lewis Gibson
Assistant Director          Michal Keyamo
Production Manager  Niall Black
Sound Operator       Neil Dewar
Stage Managers      Adam Chesnutt, Osnat Koblenz

Tickets:
Newcastle, UK – Northern Stage: 7 – 10 February 2018
Originally a Complicité Associates co-production with the National Theatre in association with HOME Manchester. Age guidance: 14+.
 




Preview: ART at Newcastle Theatre Royal,

COMEDY MASTERPIECE REVIVED AFTER 20 YEARS WITH AN ALL-STAR CAST

ART
Newcastle Theatre Royal,
Monday 5th – Saturday 10th March 2018.

Nigel Havers, Denis Lawson and Stephen Tompkinson will star in a tour de force revival of the Olivier, Tony and Moliere award-winning comedy ART at Newcastle Theatre Royal.

One of the most successful comedies ever and winner of every major world theatre award, ART is a stage masterpiece and global phenomenon. Now celebrating its twentieth anniversary, ART tells the story of three old friends in Paris - Serge, Yvan and Marc, who discover they have very differing opinions about what constitutes ‘art’ when one buys a very expensive, rather peculiar painting. 

Originally a French language play written by Yasmina Reza, the English version translated by Christopher Hampton opened in the West End in 1996 to critical acclaim and ran for eight years. This revival production from The Old Vic is a masterstroke in casting with Nigel Havers, Denis Lawson and Stephen Tompkinson as Serge, Marc and Ivan respectively. 

Producer David Pugh said, “It is twenty years since Dafydd (Rogers) and I first produced the comedy masterpiece ART in the West End, and the original post-London tour played for 78 weeks.  This time, we want to break our own record; in fact, we want to play as many theatres as Sir Ken Dodd has played in his wonderful career, and with this marvellous cast, we think we have every chance!”

Nigel Havers’s films include Chariots of Fire, A Passage to India, Empire of the Sun and The Whistle Blower.  He has starred in many television productions, including The Charmer, Dangerfield, Manchild, and, more recently, the hit US series Brothers and Sisters, Lewis Archer in Coronation Street, Benidorm and Lord Hepworth in Downton Abbey.  His numerous theatre work includes The Importance of Being Earnest and Harold Pinter’s Family Voices, both directed by Sir Peter Hall for the National Theatre, Richard II and Man and Superman for the RSC, the hugely successful touring productions of Rebecca and Alan Bennett’s Single Spies.    

Denis Lawson is known for his roles as John Jarndyce in the BBC's adaptation of Bleak House, for which he was nominated for an EMMY award, and as DI Steve McAndrew in BBC1's hit series New Tricks.  In film, his notable credits include the roles of Gordon Urquhart in the film Local Hero and Wedge Antilles in the original Star Wars trilogy.  On stage, he won an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Jim Lancastar in Mr Cinders at the Fortune Theatre, and he was nominated for an Olivier for his performance as George in La Cages Aux Folles at the Playhouse Theatre.

Stockton-on-Tees born Stephen Tompkinson’s TV credits include five series of DCI Banks, four series of Trollied, seven series of Wild at Heart, six series of Drop the Dead Donkey (British Comedy Award Winner for Best TV Comedy Actor) and three series of Ballykissangel, and his films include Phil in Brassed Off.  His theatre work includes Spamalot, Rattle of a Simple Man and Arsenic and Old Lace in the West End, Cloaca (Old Vic) and Tartuffe (National Tour). 

Based on the original production by Matthew Warchus, ART will be directed by Ellie Jones, with design by Mark Thompson, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, sound design by Mic Pool, original music by Gary Yershon, fight direction by Terry King and casting by Sarah Bird CDG.  The 2018 UK & Ireland Tour is produced by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers.

Tickets:
ART is at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Mon 5 to Sat 10 March 2018, playing evenings at 7.30pm, matinees on Thu 2pm and Sat 2.30pm. Tickets from £14.50 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 www.theatreroyal.co.uk





NEWS: PERFORMERS WARMING UP FOR STEP UP AND DANCE 2018

PERFORMERS WARMING UP FOR STEP UP AND DANCE 2018

Dancers are limbering up for a chance to represent the region in a national competition.

Eight groups will take to the stage at The Customs House on Tuesday 6th February for the 10th annual Step Up and Dance community dance performance.

The showcase event for groups in North and South Tyneside is part of the regional dance festival Pulse, managed by Dance City in Newcastle.

Inaudible, dancers from Harton Academy in South Shields
 performing in Step Up and Dance 2017.
The Customs House is a partner in Pulse, alongside Arts Centre Washington, Tin Arts in Durham, Arc Stockton and Queen’s Hall Arts Centre in Hexham.
Two groups from each venue will be selected to perform at the regional Pulse event at Dance City on Saturday, March 17, from which one group will be chosen to represent the region in the national youth dance festival U Dance, which takes place in Suffolk in July.

Stephenson Rockettes from George Stephenson High 
in North Shields performing in Step Up and Dance 2017.
The groups taking part in Step Up and Dance 2018 are: Epinay Business and Enterprise School, Jarrow; John Spence Community High School, North Shields; Boldon School; White Illusion; Triple Threat Dance, based at Mortimer Community College in South Shields; Keelman’s Way School, Hebburn; St Wilfrid’s Catholic College, South Shields; and Sarah McVey School of Dance, based in South Shields.

Daniel Clifford, learning and participation officer at The Customs House, said: “Step Up and Dance is a great opportunity for local people to dance on a professional stage and share their work with friends and family, other dancers and the wider community.

“I’m really looking forward to Tuesday evening’s performance, as the groups will be sure to put on a fitting show for our 10th community dance showcase.”

Tickets for Step Up and Dance 2018 are £5 and available from the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or online at www.customshouse.co.uk. The show starts at 7pm.

Monday, 29 January 2018

News: Geof Keys to leave Queen’s Hall Arts, Hexham

Geof Keys to leave Queen’s Hall Arts, Hexham

After more than 20 years at the helm Geof Keys, Artistic Director of the Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham is stepping down this summer. During his time at the arts centre he has led some big changes. 

In 2001 Queen’s Hall Arts was set up to take the local arts service out of direct local authority control. The new charity quickly raised the funds for major building works, creating gallery spaces, improving access and renovating the theatre. The rather daunting public building that housed a theatre and a library has become a welcoming multi-purpose arts centre and local services hub.

It has been a period of growth and development for the arts with an expanded programme of professional work alongside a commitment to community activity – and not just at the Queen’s Hall. Some of the work Geof is most proud of has been across Northumberland – establishing the Highlights rural touring scheme, supporting local film clubs and playing a leading role in Bait, the Creative People & Places programme in SE Northumberland. Overall
engagement numbers for the service have risen from 29,000 in 2001 to over 87,000 in 2017.

He says “20 years is an extraordinary length of time to be doing this job.  I am deeply grateful to the QHA staff and board (and to the artists we support and the community we serve) for making it a pleasurable and satisfying experience – notwithstanding that it can be hard work at times!  I believe that now is the right time for me to move on and also the right time for the organisation to refresh itself under new leadership, cushioned by the new agreements we
have with our core funders, Arts Council England and Northumberland County Council, and a building fit for purpose.”

Queen’s Hall Arts has started the recruitment process (see www.queenshall.co.uk/vacancies ). 

Geof is planning to stay in the area developing a range of new projects to support North East based artists and companies. 


Preview: Puddles’ Adventure at South Shields Customs House


PANTO STARS REUNITE FOR HALF-TERM HEROICS

Puddles’ Adventure
South Shields Customs House
Wednesday 14th to Friday 16th February 2018

Panto favourites Arbuthnot and Puddles are back for a new adventure at The Customs House this February half term.

They’re bringing some special friends along as one of the biggest panto baddies comes back to wreak havoc in Cooksonville in Puddles’ Adventure. The show sees the return of Fleshcreep – and only Arbuthnot (David John Hopper) and Puddles (Dale Jewitt) can save the day. 

They’ve caught wind of his sneaky plans and must now join forces with their friends from all over town to form the ultimate superhero crime-fighting team. But the duo, who appeared together for the first time in The Customs House’s most recent panto, The Lambton Worm, face a race against time to get to everyone before Fleshcreep hypnotises them to join his evil horde.

Steven Lee Hamilton, who appeared as The Brave and Bold Sir John in The Lambton Worm, reprises his role as Fleshcreep from the 2016/2017 panto at The Customs House, Jack and the Beanstalk.  The team recruited to help defeat him also features much-loved characters from previous pantos, including Chorizo the Pig from Little Red Riding Hood and Dormouse from Alice in Wonderland.

Chorizo will be repreised by Kylie Ann Ford, while Dormouse will be played by Eleanor Chaganis, who starred as Princess Aneesa in The Lambton Worm.

Will the heroes succeed in their task, or will Fleshcreep brainwash all of Cooksonville and take over? Join Arbuthnot, Puddles, Chorizo and Dormouse in this toe-tapping, boogie-woogie adventure to find out!

David, who is directing the show and co-writing it with Dale, said: “I am over the moon to be back at The Customs House.  “Arbuthnot is my favourite character to play and the audience at The Customs House really do make the shows. Let’s see what mischief Arbut can get himself into this time!”

Tickets:
Puddles’ Adventure runs from Wednesday 14th to Friday 16th  February 2018, with performances at 11am and 2pm.

Tickets, priced £7.50 each, are available from the box office on (0191) 454 12334 or online at www.customshouse.co.uk



#LadsLadsLads Sara Pascoe on Tour! Presale 31/1

Tyne Theatre, Newcastle Upon Tyne,

Thu 1 Nov 2018, 20:00
Please Note:Over 16s only

LadsLadsLads
Sara Pascoe At Tyne Theatre
Presale 31/1


Always honest, always regretting it later, Sara opens her heart and mouth again to share the adventures of the last year. Full of jokes, hope and white  wine LadsLadsLads is the thinking person's stag do*. 
Following a sell-out run in London’s West End, the multi-award-winning comedian and star of Live at The Apollo, Mock the Week, QI and Taskmaster, takes her new show on tour.
"Whipsmart... winningly funny" – The Guardian
"Her most personal show yet and perhaps her most accomplished. Beautifully structured... knowing, yet effortless" – Daily Telegraph 
*Please please do not bring an actual stag do, PLEASE. Do bring a polite friend, your mamma, someone you hope to seduce or a book for the interval.

Tickets from our affiliate Ticketmaster: http://bit.ly/SaraPascoeTix

Tyne Theatre, Newcastle Upon Tyne,

Thu 1 Nov 2018, 20:00
Please Note:Over 16s only

Friday, 26 January 2018

REVIEW: La Traviata at Sunderland Empire

La Traviata
Sunderland Empire
Friday 26th January 2018

Music: Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto: Francesco Maria Piave
Based upon a play and novel by Alexandre Dumas the Younger
Director: Ellen Kent


Ellen Kent produces and directs Verdi's classic tragedy using a full live orchestra and a cast featuring some stunning voices who filled the auditorium with a fabulous sound.

Violetta (Alyona Kistenyova), a courtesan and socialite has recovered from a serious illness and decides to throw a party at a salon in Paris until sunrise. She meets Alfredo Germont (Vitalii Liskovetski), a young bourgeois from a provincial family who catches her eye. This is an issue for both her current lover, Barone Douphol (Eugen Ganea) and Alfredo's father Giorgio (Iurie Gisca).

Verdi creates a contemporaneous love triangle complete with nineteenth century disease and lack of cures. The score seems light over some fairly heavy issues in the libretto. The potent mix is intoxicating.

Some touring operas cut corners in order to keep the costs down but that isn't the case in Ellen Kent's show. The striking set of a Italianate-style large house interior with classical features dominates the stage. The cast look resplendent in their lavish costumes.

The production is sung in Italian with English surtitles displayed above the performance space. Enough information was there to keep you ahead of the story but not so much as to be distracting.  To be honest, as music fans, we were happy to let the room fill with the marvellous Verdi sound without worrying too much about the translation of every line. It was easy enough to keep track of proceedings.

The live orchestra, under conductor Vasyl Vasylenko, produced a fresh and vivid sound which backed some stunning vocal performances. Alyona Kistenyova and Vitalii Liskovetski worked well together as the lovers going through the many stages of a relationship. Their voices complemented each other well. Iurie Gisca gave the paternal role depth and Iurie was responsible for some splendid vocal performances.

As an introduction to opera La Traviata is a good place to start. That beautiful combination of voices and live musicianship performing a passionate tale was stirring. One highlight was the Brindisi, the best known drinking song in opera. La Traviata was appreciated by the Sunderland audience.

The opera entertainment continues tomorrow (Saturday) with Madama Butterfly which sounds like it will be a cracker. Video link


Review: Stephen Oliver

Tickets:

Tickets for Madam Butterfly are still available from the Box Office on High Street West, via the ticket centre 0844 871 3022* or from our affiliate ATG Ticketswww.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland  *calls cost 7p per minute plus standard network charges. Booking and transaction fees may apply to telephone and online bookings.


Preview: THREE BALLET MASTERPIECES COMING TO DARLINGTON HIPPODROME


THREE BALLET MASTERPIECES COMING TO DARLINGTON HIPPODROME

The Darlington Hippodrome are delighted to welcome back The  Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia with three great ballet masterpieces. Formed in 1981, The Russian State Ballet of Siberia has quickly established itself as one of Russia’s leading ballet companies and has built an international reputation for delivering performances of outstanding quality and unusual depth. The soloists and corps de ballet are superb and never fail to delight audiences with their breath-taking physical ability and dazzling costumes.

Romeo & Juliet - Thursday 15 February 7.30pm
Shakespeare’s tale of primal passion and timeless tragedy is brought to life by Prokofiev’s soaring score and emotionally charged choreography. From the grandeur of the masked ball to the intimacy of the lovers’ balcony, this star-crossed story of duels, bitter family feuds and love that cannot be is the world’s greatest love story.

Swan Lake - Friday 16 February 7.30pm and Saturday 17 February at 2.30pm & 7.30pm
The greatest romantic ballet of all time with a haunting and unforgettable score by Tchaikovsky. From the impressive splendour of the palace ballroom to the moon-lit lake where swans glide in perfect formation, this compelling tale of tragic romance has it all.

The Nutcracker - Sunday 18 February 2.30pm
As midnight strikes on Christmas Eve, this most famous of fantasy ballets for all the family sweeps us away to a fairy-tale world where nothing is quite as it seems: toy dolls spring to life, the Mouse-king and his army battle with the Nutcracker Prince and we travel through the Land of Snow to an enchanted place where the magic really begins.

Tickets:

To book contact the Box Office on 01325 405405 or visit www.darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk  



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