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Preview: Department of Distractions at Newcastle Northern Stage

“What aren’t you looking at?”

Third Angel & Northern Stage present:
The Department of Distractions
Newcastle Northern Stage
Friday 2 - Saturday 10 February 2018

Third Angel asks “what aren’t you looking at?” in new show ‘The Department of Distractions’ coming to Northern Stage during February 2018

Third Angel brings to Northern Stage a conspiracy-theory detective story for the 21st century that explores the tiny details of everyday life and most importantly asks: What aren’t you looking at?  In a world where ‘fake news’ is a term we have become all too familiar with, this show asks, just how much are we paying attention, and what is the truth, if there is such a thing as truth at all?

Blending fiction and documentary detail, The Department of Distractions is a new play about an organisation so clandestine you won’t have heard of them. Until now. The Department says its job is to plant stories in the world “to make life more interesting.” Others would argue that it’s as much about stopping us looking in certain directions: a single glove in the street, a torn up love letter in a Metro carriage, a pair of shoes hanging from a telephone wire or a phone box that rings as you walk past…

Alexander Kelly
Photo: Elliot Roberts
Written by Third Angel Co-artistic Director Alexander Kelly, this world premiere performance at Northern Stage puts the audience at the centre of a complex web of truths and untruths, both engaging, illuminating and mystifying. Unpicking the snags in the fabric of everyday life, The Department of Distractions may leave you with more questions than answers. 

Alex explains how the show explores some ongoing fascinations and obsessions of the company, “I’ve loved detective stories since I was a teenager – starting with both Raymond Chandler and Moonlighting. Several of our shows and projects have hinted at them, but this is the first time we’ve done a full-on detective story.

We’ve been developing The Department of Distractions since 2014. In that time it has been fascinating, compelling and depressing to see some of the ideas it explores become more pressing.”

Rachael Walton
Alex is joined on the creative team by Third Angel Co-Artistic Director Rachael Walton, Stage Designer Bethany Wells, Music and Sound Designer Heather Fenoughty, Lighting Designer Katherine Williams and Dramaturg Stacey Sampson.

The cast are: Rachael Walton (600 People, Third Angel), Stacey Sampson (This is England, Channel 4), Nicholas Chambers (The Great Gatsby, Wilton's Music Hall) and Umar Ahmed (My Name Is, Tamasha Theatre Company).

Created with the lightness of touch and ferocity for detail that Third Angel have become renowned for, The Department of Distractions plays from Friday 2 to Saturday 10 February at Northern Stage before touring. 

Engaging with the big issues about how we live with a fierce intelligence”  The Guardian on Third Angel

Cast & Creative team:
 Writer & Co-Director - Alexander Kelly
Co-Director & cast member - Rachael Walton
Stage Design - Bethany Wells   
Music & Sound Design - Heather Fenoughty   
Lighting Design - Katherine Williams 
Dramaturg & cast member - Stacey Sampson
Cast member - Nicholas Chambers
Cast member - Umar Ahmed

Twitter  @thirdangeluk @AlexanderKelly # TheDepartmentOfDistractions
Instagram @third_angel_uk

Dates:  Friday 2 - Saturday 10 February 2018, BSL Signed Performance on Thu 8   February
Time:  8pm

Tickets:  £10 - £15.50 available online from

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