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NEWS: Newcastle’s Live Theatre’s announces new season

Newcastle’s Live Theatre’s announces new season

New plays by writers including Roddy Doyle, Paul Sirett, Ishy Din and Alex Oates

Live Theatre has announced its new season through to March 2019. Highlights include the British Premiere of Two Pints, a hilarious and provocative play by Irish writer Roddy Doyle. Having started as a conversation on Facebook that gained a large following, Roddy Doyle brought the two characters to life in a play, in which two men meet in a pub for a pint, chew the fat, and set the world to rights.

Roddy Doyle said “When I wrote Two Pints, I didn’t envisage it being performed in a pub, but it is part of the adventure. This new play is being put on in a context that is unfamiliar to me – that excites me.”

Lorcan Cranitch and Liam Carney
in Two Pints by Roddy Doyle
Directed by Caitriona McLoughlin.
Photo by Ros Kavanagh
Joe Douglas, Artistic Director, Live Theatre, said: “We are delighted to host the British debut of Roddy Doyle’s comedy Two Pints, that has been a sell-out success across Ireland. We look forward to bringing it to audiences in Newcastle and Sunderland, in partnership with Sunderland Culture and as part of the Culture Ireland GB programme. The show is usually performed in pubs, so at Live Theatre, the bar is returning into the main theatre space. Audiences can get a pint, pull up a chair and listen in to the conversation at the bar. In Sunderland, we are delighted to have the perfect pub-setting ready-made in the beautifully restored Peacock pub on Keel Square. Wherever you see Two Pints expect big laughs and good craic.”

Following its second tour performing in pubs across Ireland, this Abbey Theatre Production comes to Live Theatre (Wednesday 12 to Sunday 23 September), and The Peacock Pub, Sunderland (Tuesday 25 to Friday 28 September).

This autumn see the World Premiere of Clear White Light, a modern gothic story, and the first play at Live Theatre to be directed by it’s new Artistic Director, Joe Douglas. Written by Olivier Award nominated writer Paul Sirett, Clear White Light is a modern retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher and set against the backdrop of cuts to the 70-year-old NHS, with the songs of Lindisfarne. Inspired by Alan Hull’s time working at psychiatric nurse at St Nicholas’ hospital in Gosforth, the play features many of the hit songs he wrote at that time, including Winter Song, Lady Eleanor and Clear White Light played by a live band. The show's musical directors are Billy Mitchell and Ray Laidlaw, also of the band Lindisfarne.

Ray Laidlaw explains: ‘'We've been working with the wonderfully creative team at Live Theatre for a long time, searching for the perfect vehicle for Alan's great songs which doesn't rely on cliché. Clear White Light is just that - it's fresh and inventive, and I'm sure it'll introduce Alan's music to a whole new audience.”

Billy Mitchell added: “Alan was profoundly touched by his time at St. Nick's, caring for people with mental health issues. The music he wrote around then - often while on duty - has stood the test of time. Unfortunately the NHS hasn't fared so well, something Clear White Light addresses head-on.”

The play was originally commissioned by Max Roberts, Live Theatre’s Emeritus Artistic Director, and Max and Joe will work closely together to bring the show to life. Clear White Light premieres at Live Theatre from Saturday 18 October to Saturday 10 November.

Live Theatre’s collaboration with Open Clasp continues with the World Premiere of don’t forget the birds, the follow up to the award-winning Key Change, telling the true story of a mother and daughter after release from prison. The mother was one of the original collaborators on Key Change, now released, and this first-hand account written by Catrina McHugh MBE and directed by Laura Lindow, picks up on their story and tells how prison took a mother from a daughter and their heart lifting journey to find each other again. Featuring both women as themselves, don’t forget the birds is at Live Theatre from Tuesday 20 to Saturday 24 November before touring nationally.

Christmas Crackers is Live Theatre’s alternative Christmas offering, of four new plays in one evening celebrating this special time of year, with a wry twist. Written up by and coming writers Tamsin Daisy-Rees, Olivia Hannah, Henry Lawrence and Jamie Morren who have been selected as Live Theatre’s Associate Artists this year. Catch Christmas Crackers from Thursday 13 to Saturday 22 December.

Graeme Thompson, Creative Producer, Live Theatre said “Tamsin, Olivia, Henry and Jamie will all give their individual take on a Christmas play. Don’t expect a traditional nativity or a panto, but be prepared for laughter, turkey, tears and sarcasm. They will follow in the footsteps of Nina Berry who wrote her hit play The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes when she was a Live Theatre Associate Artist, which debuted in its original form as a short play in Live Theatre’s alternative Christmas show in 2015.”

Set in the North of England in the aftermath of Margaret Thatcher’s death, two old friends go into the taxi business together in Approaching Empty written by Stockton based writer, and former cab driver, Ishy Din. This brand new co-production between Live Theatre, Tamasha and Kiln Theatre is at Live Theatre from Wednesday 6 to Saturday 23 February 2019.

Five performers from across the globe challenge notions of ‘home’ in Where We Began on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 September.

Bismillah! (an Isis Tragicomedy) which follows Dean who joins the Army and Danny who joins the Islamic State, comes to Live Theatre for two performances on Saturday 29 September following critically acclaimed sell-out runs in Edinburgh and London. 

Inspired by real music fan confessions, Fans (Wednesday 3 to Saturday 6 October) written by Nina Berry, is part gig and part theatre crammed full of classic hits and original tunes. Also from company The Six Twenty there are two Mixtape shows, which mix sketch show with music quiz, Mixtape Timehop (Thursday 30 August to Saturday 1 September) and Mixtape Xmas (Wednesday 5 to Saturday 8 December).
It's Different For Girls, a brand new musical inspired by Mandy & The Girlfriends, Hull's own 1960s girl band, comes to Live Theatre from Tuesday 13 to Thursday 15 November.
Alex Oates's hit play Silk Road (How To Buy Drugs Online) returns to Live Theatre from Tuesday 27 November to Saturday 1 December following its sell out run earlier this year, and a West End transfer.
Theo Ancient (Albus Potter in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) stars in The Shy Manifesto, a bittersweet comedy drama about a boy who is fed up of being told to come out of his shell, on Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 30 January 2019.
Mark Thomas - Photo: Steve Ullathorne
Mark Thomas takes a comedic look at the NHS at 70 based on a series of interviews with leading experts in Check Up: Our NHS@70 from Tuesday 5 to Thursday 7 March 2019. 

Sparkplug, written by David Judge, is an exploration of family, race, identity and love performed between Thursday 14 to Saturday 16 March.
There’s another great line-up of live music presented by Jumpin' Hot Club plus the chance to get involved with new creative opportunities, including the Introduction to Playwriting Course and Write Here, Write Now writing course for young people of colour aged 16-25 both led by Live Theatre’s new writer in residence Chinonyerem Odinba, and for young people aged 11 to 25 to join Live Theatre’s award-winning Live Youth Theatre as its prepares for its 21st birthday year in 2019.

For more information and tickets call Live Theatre’s Box Office on (0191) 232 1232 or see

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