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Preview: Courteeners at Newcastle Metro Radio Arena

Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
Friday 23rd November 2018
Courteeners have announced details of a major UK tour this winter. Following the band’s penultimate slots on the main stage at this year’s Reading & Leeds Festivals and headline appearances at Neighbourhood Festival and Truck Festival, the band will play a huge UK tour in including Metro Radio Arena Newcastle on Friday 23rd November 2018.

Gerry Cinnamon
Support on the tour comes from special guests Gerry Cinnamon and Zuzu. 
This year saw the Courteeners celebrate the 10th anniversary of their gold selling debut album ‘St. Jude’. A reworked version of the album ‘St. Jude Re:Wired’ hit the Top 5 of the Official UK Albums Chart. The band played celebratory sold out shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall for Teenage Cancer Trust in March and Manchester Arena in April.

·        Tickets will go on sale 9.00am Friday 31st August and are available online from our affiliate Ticketmaster UK at  or from the booking hotline number 0844 493 6666 - Please note venue facility and booking fees will apply.
·        Group Bookers should call (0844) 844 2121
·        Accessible Bookings should call 0800 988 4440 for further details

Under 14’s must be accompanied by an adult and must hold a seated ticket (under 14’s are not allowed in the standing area).
4 Tickets per person MAX - standing
8 Tickets per person MAX - seating


Preview: Miss Rory at Newcastle Tyne Theatre

Newcastle’s Queen Of Comedy

Miss Rory – A Christmas Rory II
Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House
Monday 17th December 2018

Tyne Theatre and Opera House are excited to announce the return of Newcastle’s Queen of Comedy, Miss Rory, to their stage this Christmas, with her live standup, A Christmas Rory II. If you’re looking for something a little more risqué amidst the Panto season, this is the show for you!

Mariah Carey might have you believe that she’s the only diva you need to be concerned with at Christmas but Newcastle’s undisputed Queen of Comedy is back, and with a vengeance. After the sell-out successes of One Woman in 2016 along with What’s Up Hun? and A Christmas Rory in 2017; Miss Rory’s return to the Tyne Theatre & Opera House stage this Christmas is set to be a night full of showbiz festivities.

Critically acclaimed, adored by the public and often hailed as ‘The People’s Princess’, Miss Rory will have you laughing until you cry as she spreads two hours of hilarity and Christmas cheer.


“ONE HELL OF A SHOW” – The Chronicle

Theatre director Joanne Johnson says: “We’re so excited to have one of our favourites, Newcastle icon Miss Rory, back on our stage for Christmas! Miss Rory always puts on a fabulous and hilarious show, and this one will be a festive treat. Miss Rory joins our incredible comedy line-up, which is jam-packed with some of the biggest names in comedy including Joe Lycett, Sarah Millican, Dylan Moran and Lost Voice Guy. Tyne Theatre & Opera House is THE place to see comedy in Newcastle.”

Strictly 18+

Tickets: £25 Stalls & Grand Circle, £22.50 limited view Stalls & Grand Circle, £20 Upper Circle, £18.50 limited view Upper Circle

Group bookings: Groups 10+ of prime location seating £23 each, no booking fees, only available by calling 07787 566 850 (Subject to availability, limited time only so get in quick.)

Tickets available online now from our affiliate Eventim UK: #Ad


Preview: DaSilva Marionette Circus Troupe at Arts Centre Washington

Marionette troupe return to the North East

The DaSilva Marionette Circus Troupe
Arts Centre Washington
Saturday 8th September 2018

Roll up, roll up to see some very special characters make a return to the city, as a troupe of marionettes perform at Arts Centre Washington on Saturday 8 September.

For the ringmaster, lion, acrobats and other puppets that form the cast of The DaSilva Marionette Circus Troupe were actually created many years ago by the founders of Norwich Puppet Theatre, Ray and Joan DaSilva.

The DaSilva Puppet Company performed their large scale theatre shows throughout the seventies with annual visits to the North East performing at both the Sunderland Empire and the Darlington Civic Theatre

Their son Nik Palmer has followed in their footsteps as a puppeteer and - together with fellow puppeteer Sarah Rowland-Barker - he is presenting a second generation of their travelling show.

Mr Palmer, 54, who runs the company Noisy Oyster with Ms Rowland-Barker, said: The puppets are more than 50 years old - my parents started building them just before I was born and they must have toured the show for a good 40 years.  They are all the original puppets although they have had a few costume refurbishments - my mum still refurbishes the puppetscostumes.  Theres about 18 puppets in the show and they are all trick marionettes.

About how the performance today compares to the original show, Mr Palmer said: We have changed a few bits from when my parents did the show.  They did it very straight and were dressed in black whereas we are dressed in costumes and are very much part of the performance.

...and Now
He added: It is one of our most popular shows now and I really love doing it - it is good old-fashioned entertainment suitable for all ages, young and old.  It is especially popular with this year being the Circus250 celebrations.

Ray and Joan DaSilva, who now live in Dorset, founded The DaSilva Puppet Company in 1962 and the company toured the world with its shows The trick puppets, most of them now in new costumes, are as lively as they always were despite much hard work around the world.

The DaSilva Marionette Circus Troupe perform at Arts Centre Washington on Saturday 8 September, 11am + 2pm, tickets are £7 / £25 (family, admits 4) and are available to book at or by calling 0191 561 3455.

Preview: Suicide Notes… at Newcastle Northern Stage

Award-winning writer and performer Christopher Brett Bailey makes debut appearance in Newcastle

Suicide Notes… the spoken word of Christopher Brett
Newcastle Northern Stage
Tuesday 2nd October 2018

‘With his electric shock hair and plugged in eyes, Bailey is an unstable chemical reaction contained behind a rickety, paper-piled desk.’ Exeunt Magazine

Following the success of his award-winning cult hit This Is How We Die (‘blisteringly brilliant’ ★★★★ The Scotsman) and the critically-acclaimed Kissing The Shotgun Goodnight (‘a hallucinatory journey of dark intensity ★★★★ Whatsonstage), writer, performer and musician Christopher Brett Bailey appears for the first time in Newcastle this October, bringing his latest show Suicide Notes… the spoken word of Christopher Brett Bailey to Northern Stage.

Suicide Notes… is a different-every-night performance of poems and short stories drawn from Christopher’s most recent collection, published by Oberon Books earlier this year; a linguistic kaleidoscope of caustic cartoons, crackpot prophesies and demented erotica, described by The Stage newspaper as ‘intimate, intense, electrifying’ ★★★★.

Sat behind his trusty desk, Christopher veers between potty-mouthed poet and a standup comedian from hell, delivering a one-night-only collection of tall tales and true stories, pitch-black jokes and fork-tongued poetry as a way of exploring, with blisteringly dark humour and moments of unexpected candour and beauty, the subject of death; a recurring spectre in all of Christopher’s work.

Christopher is a writer, performer, theatre-maker and musician. His critically acclaimed solo debut This Is How We Die received the Arches Brick Award, an Off West End Award, and was shortlisted for Stückemarkt, Berliner Festspiele. Performance credits include work with BBC Radio 4, Unicorn Theatre and the late great Ken Campbell. Bailey is also half of ambient music duo Moon Ate the Dark, and leader of guitar-noise project This Machine Won’t Kill Fascists But It Might Get You Laid.

Photos: Jemima Yong

On The Web:

Running Time: 75 minutes (no interval)
Suitable for ages 16+

Cast & Creatives

Written / Performer: Christopher Brett Bailey
Dramaturg & Creative Producer: Anne Rieger
Producer & General Manager:
Beckie Darlington
Supported by Arts Council England. Commissioned by Theatre in the Mill. Support from ARC Stockton Arts Centre, The Marlborough Theatre and Shoreditch Town Hall.


The show begins at Northern Stage at 8pm. Tickets are from £10

Preview: The People’s Theatre Autumn / Winter Season

The People’s Theatre Autumn / Winter Season Preview
Photo: Paula Smart
Newcastle’s People’s Theatre start things off with hi-jinks on the high seas next month in TREASURE ISLAND! It’s all hands on deck for an action-packed tale of buccaneers and buried treasure. But watch out for Long John Silver – the most famous pirate of them all.

Bryony Lavery’s exciting adaptation sees teenage hero Jemima Hawkins run away to sea, reminding us that bravery and derring-do are not just for the boys! A co-production with their talented Young People’s Theatre, the show is for the whole family so we’ve added an afternoon performance on the Saturday.

They then go to fair Verona and Shakespeare’s legendary tale of feuding families and doomed love ROMEO AND JULIET, before heading into the trenches of WWI in BLACKADDER GOES FORTH. There’s spooky goings-on in Noël Coward’s comedy of marital mayhem BLITHE SPIRIT in November, and we end the year with fabulous festive fairy tale CINDERELLA.

2019 starts with Poirot on the case in Agatha Christie’s BLACK COFFEE and February sees the first play in their new Studio Theatre, the bewitching THE RIVER by ‘Jerusalem’ writer Jez Butterworth.

Images: Jump


VENUE:                       People’s Theatre, Stephenson Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 5QF
TICKETS:                    £14 (Concessions £11.50)
PANTO TICKETS:       £14.50 (Concessions £12)
BOX OFFICE:              0191 265 5020

REVIEW: Madagascar at Sunderland Empire

The Kids Like To Move It, Move It

Madagascar – A Musical Adventure
Sunderland Empire 
Until Saturday 1st September 2018

Madagascar nicely fills the niche as a perfect show to finish the summer holidays with if your kids are aged 5 to 11. Following the story of the massive hit animation movie, with friendly characters, it had the excited younger members of the audience happily discussing how great it was as they left.

Indeed the characters are more approachable than we found the ones in Shrek. But. There is going to be a “but” here. But the show may leave older children (perhaps aged 12ish - 99) feeling out of it. I remember seeing a similar show (Animal Kwackers) in the 70s and loving it, but I was amazed when my Dad told me what he thought afterwards! Anyhow, it is time to rediscover my 10 year old self and review the show.

The show opens with the music from Born Free and Marty (Antoine Murray-Straughan) is on the open stage waking up. Quickly the set is built up around the zebra and suddenly he is in the centre of New York enclosed in a zoo.

It is Marty’s 10th birthday and his friends want to celebrate it with him. We have Alex the lion, and central attraction at the zoo (Matt Terry, who won the X Factor in 2016). Melman (Jamie Lee-Morgan) is the giraffe who is a bit of a “sick note”, and completing the friendship group is Gloria (Timmika Ramsey) the confident hippopotamus.   As Marty blows out his birthday candle, he makes a wish – the wish to be free in the wild. Of course, born in captivity, Marty has no idea what is out there. Indeed, his friends tell him how great the zoo is with the regular supply of food. Elsewhere in the park are a number of penguins who are also plotting to get back to where they belong.

The journey follows the same route as the movie. Escape from the zoo leads to a tour of New York before they are recaptured and put in crates to be shipped off elsewhere.

This then leads to a very abrupt end to the first act. There was surprise from those around me as the lights went up as it wasn’t entirely clear what the predicament was for our band of friends.

Fortunately, all is revealed, and the storyline quickly sorts itself in the better of the two halves: act two. The second part involves 2 clear songs that will get the audience moving and the more action packed/funny end of the tale.  The show finishes on a positive high, thanks in no small part to the addition of King Julien (Jo Parsons) on the island of Madagascar itself.

Does it help to have a working knowledge of the original film? Yes, probably. We had the DVD and my son watched it a few times when he was younger. You may be left baffled by the sudden change in the action if you’ve never seen it.

The staging is effective, the zoo’s barriers quickly spin and change to give the desired effect, the set can move from open expanse to closed in captivity with ease. The set narrows the naturally wide performance space of the Empire. But the smaller area and the quieter sound make the show more children friendly. Some musicals recently have been very loud, perhaps warranting ear protecting for the younger audience member’s ears, but that is not the case in this show. The softer sound helps make the characters seem more approachable.

There are a number of great singing voices amongst the central characters. You can see how Matt Terry won the X-Factor but great contributions come from Timmika Ramsey, Antoine Murray-Straughan and Jamie Lee-Morgan. There is some nice movement during the dance numbers too. The ensemble cast work well together and there is warmth coming from the stage that is sometimes lacking in shows with a large number of costumes. Director Kirk Jameson and Choreographer Fabian Aloise keep a tight ship and the action flows at a nice pace.

The show relies heavily on some great puppetry. These are well-handled and just like in the movie, the penguins often find themselves with many of the best lines in the show.

The movie wasn’t perfect, and some of the issues have precipitated themselves across to the stage, but we are still left with a pleasant, enjoyable show for the younger member of the family. No wonder the original film took over £530 million at the box office. Approachable characters, in a familiar story, engage with the kids well. The shorter running time (100 minutes including interval) too will stop the show becoming dull for the little ones with shorter attention spans.  This production is an ideal end to the summer holiday.

Review by Stephen Oliver
Photos: Scott Rylander

On The Web:
Twitter @MadUKTour

Tickets available in person at the Box Office on High Street West, from the Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022* or online from our affiliates ATG Tickets **

*Calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your standard network charge. Booking fees may apply to telephone and online bookings


Preview: Miss Saigon at Sunderland Empire


Miss Saigon
Sunderland Empire
24 October - 17 November 2018.

Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular award-winning epic production of Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical Miss Saigon will land at Sunderland Empire on 24 October 2018 for a LIMITED 3 WEEK engagement until 17 November 2018.

Miss Saigon is one of the largest productions on tour with a cast of 38, orchestra of 15 and a technical team of 32 who bring the show to life 8 times a week.

It will take 16 45-foot trailers to move the production to Sunderland Empire! 100 production and local crew will be involved in putting the show in to Sunderland, working 24 hours a day for 3 days, making MISS SAIGON one of the biggest productions ever to be seen on the Empire stage.

The Miss Saigon touring company includes 38 adult cast members from 10 nationalities including British, Filipino, Thai, Chinese, Korean and Japanese, Singaporian, Swedish, Dutch and Malaysian. The backstage team includes a Company Manager, an Assistant Company Manager, 5 Stage Management, a Retail Manager, 6 Stage Crew, 4 Flymen, 5 Follow-Spot Operators, 3 Touring Carpenters, 3 Automation Operators, 4 Sound Operators, Touring Electricians, 9 Dressers, 4 Wigs Personnel and 5 Wardrobe Personnel. Two touring chaperones (for the children playing ‘Tam’) and a touring physiotherapist. A Musical Director, alongside 15 members of the orchestra. The show also tours with a Resident Director to make sure the shows artistic standards are maintained.

The famous helicopter in the show weighs over 3 tons and the blade span of the helicopter at full extension is 2.6 metres. At full height it’s the same as 1.5 London double Decker buses, it has 10 different moving elements, independently controlled and there are over 35 feedback functions on board. In an 8 show week the Helicopter rotor blades spin approximately 3,600 times. By the end of the tour, the helicopter will have travelled an Olympic running track over 50 times, that’s over 20,000 metres!

The epic love story of our time, Miss Saigon tells the story of the last days of the Vietnam War, 17 year-old Kim is forced to work in a Saigon bar run by a notorious character known as the Engineer. There she meets and falls in love with an American GI named Chris but they are torn apart by the fall of Saigon. For 3 years Kim goes on an epic journey of survival to find her way back to Chris, who has no idea he's fathered a son.

Since its London premiere in 1989, Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s legendary musical Miss Saigon has become one of the most successful musicals in history.  The original Broadway production of Miss Saigon opened on April 11, 1991 with what was the largest advance sale in Broadway history ($37 million).  The show went on to play for nearly ten years and 4,063 performances seen by more than 5.9 million people.

Miss Saigon has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg with lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. and Alain Boublil, adapted from original French lyrics by Alain Boublil, with additional lyrics by Michael Mahler. The new production is directed by Laurence Connor with musical staging by Bob Avian and additional choreography by Geoffrey Garratt.  Production design is by Totie Driver and Matt Kinley based on an original concept by Adrian Vaux; costume design by Andreane Neofitou; lighting design by Bruno Poet; projections by Luke Halls; sound design by Mick Potter; and orchestrations by William David Brohn.

Miss Saigon has been performed in 32 countries, 369 cities and in 15 different languages. The acclaimed production has won over 70 awards including 2 Olivier Awards, 3 Tony Awards, and 4 Drama Desk Awards and it has now been seen by over 36 million people worldwide.  

Tickets - Sunderland Empire Box Office on High Street West, via the ticket centre 0844 871 3022* or from our affiliate ATG Tickets:  *calls cost up to 7p per minute plus standard network charges. Booking and transaction fees may apply to telephone and online bookings.


Preview: Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreams Came True at Whitley Bay Playhouse

Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreams Came True – Meat Loaf the Show
Whitley Bay Playhouse
Thursday 8th November 2018

Rock and Roll Dreams Came True is a theatre show tribute based on the man himself, Meat Loaf!

In this epic 2 hour extravaganza, starring the internationally acclaimed Peter Young and supported by his exceptionally talented backing band, Rock and Roll Dreams Came True is the only show you need to see to experience an a evening as close to seeing Meat Loaf himself. The unique musicianship of this 8 piece live band, complete with Jim Steinman (Mike Corfield) on piano, will transport you to another world, to experience the Rock and Roll phenomenon that is....Meat Loaf.

With the help of the 8 piece live band, video projections, set, incredible light show, choreography and dancers, this show promises to have you rocking out to all of Meat Loaf’s greatest hits.

Spanning his extensive musical career, this show follows the highs and the lows that helped contribute to the making of one of the world’s most prolific stars.

If you’re a fan of Meat Loaf….this show is not to be missed!!


Tickets can be purchased from the Box Office, open from Monday–Friday 10am- 4pm, Saturday 10.30am–2.30pm plus until show start on event days. Tickets can also be purchased on the booking hotline 0844 248 1588* or online from our affiliate Ticketmaster UK:

*Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.


Preview: 2CC Music & Laughter Show at Newcastle Tyne Theatre

2CC Music & Laughter Show
Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House
Sunday 23 September 2018 at 1.00pm

Byker Masonic Hall’s 2CC (2 chosen charities) team present this year’s 2CC Music & Laughter Show – a real fun-packed, value for money afternoon, starting at 1pm with over 3 hours’ worth of top entertainment.
2CC are hoping the charity event, a good old fashioned variety show, back after a hugely successful show in 2017, will deliver even more music and laughter, raising money for two chosen charities, namely the Tyne Theatre Preservation Trust as well as SSAFA (The Armed Forces Charity).

We are celebrating 100 years from the end of the Great War and 100 years from the formation of the RAF with this years show having a military twist to it.

With a host of fantastic acts to be announced very soon, the 2CC Music & Laughter Show promises to be a hilarious, toe-tapping treat, set against the incredible backdrop of one of the North East’s best-loved entertainment venues, with many brethren giving their time up for free.

Confirmed Acts:
Representatives from the Royal Navy, Army, RAF and Marines
Standard Bearers representing the armed forces
Matt Pagan – a member of Britain’s Got Talent winners Collabro, Matt also played the Prince in Tyne Theatre & Opera House’s Christmas Panto 2017. He’ll be reunited with fellow Panto stars Charlie Richmond, Lewis Denny and Robyn McEnaney!
Charlie Richmond – Panto legend and one of the Tyne Theatre’s favourite sons, Charlie, a talented singer, actor, comic and all round nice guy will be our compere for the day, as well as purely belting out a tune or two during the day.
Durham/Northumberland Wing Band – Part of the Durham/Northumberland Wing Royal Air Force Air Cadets. The Cadets within the band are from various squadrons within the Wing which covers a huge area – from Berwick in the north to Hartlepool in the south.
Junior Turner – It’s been a busy and successful year so far for Junior Turner. After his appearance at Northumberland Live and winning two awards for his single “Tonight”, he has also gone number 1 for the very first time in the UK unsigned charts.
Jason Cook & Steffen Peddie -Two of the finest comic talents the North East has produced from TV hit Hebburn and Geordie Rat Pack fame.
Military Wives Choir – The MWC provide a head-start for women in the military community to make new friends, connect with local communities and learn new skills in a fun and supportive environment.
John Hopkinson –  Multi-talented musician, singer, song writer, member of the highly successful Moon Beats and overall good guy. Both singing his own songs as well as accompanying many of the acts including the Military Wives Choir.

Lewis Denny
– Another popular member of the Tyne Theatre Panto team, the very talented and versatile Lewis will be treating us to his own song in the show, as well as supporting Rebecca Mackett and joining in with other members of the cast in the final section of the show.
Nikki Simm – On stage, behind the scenes, front of house, Theatre runs through this girls veins. As well as performing her own song, she will also be supported by Lewis in her 2nd song of the second act and as part of the cast in the final part of the show.
Mary Proud – Choreographer for the show and highly respected member of the Hazel Rayson Dance School, Mary will be singing her own song in part two.
Rebecca Mackett – Singing her own song in the second set, accompanying Matt Pagan in the final section as well as being part of a female four piece, she’s sure to blow your socks off.

Hazel Rayson Dance School
– Big supporters of the Tyne Theatre, The Hazel Rayson Dance School will be providing skillful dance routines to accompany several of our acts.
Tom Jobes – A regular to the show both as performer and compere in the past. It’s great to see Tom back on stage knocking out a few lovely songs.
The Baldy Holly Band – Fresh from tours of both the USA and more recently Scotland, one of the country’s finest Rock ‘n’ Roll bands will be storming the stage with their fire brand of Rock ‘n’ Roll classics.
Ian Drever – A regular on stage, Ian, a highly experienced performer, is sure to put a smile on the faces of some of our Military and public audience alike.
Robyn McEnaney -Winner of  Panto 2017’s ‘Search for Snow White’, Robyn will be once again teaming up with Panto colleague Matt Pagan.
Phil Jamieson – This talented guitarist will lead off the finale with a guest appearance accompanied by John Hopkinson (Keyboards), RAF Wing band rep (Drums) and the Durham/Northumberland Wing Band.

Tickets are priced £12.50 adults, £10 concessions, £10 armed forces & their families (Plus booking fees when booking online or over the phone).
Booking Line: 0844 2491 000
(calls will cost 7 pence per minute plus your telephone company's access charge)
Online – tickets are available from our affiliate Eventim UK:

Preview: Great Joe Wilson at Darlington Hippodrome


The Great Joe Wilson
Darlington Hippodrome
Friday 7th - Saturday 8th September 2018

The Great Joe Wilson is a must-see comedy drama set in Darlington and is heading for a world premiere at Darlington Hippodrome on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 September.

The Great Joe Wilson is a play with music about (arguably) the greatest-ever North East singer/songwriter. Wilson's dramatic life will be told using his tremendous music, which covers everything from lost love through to hard-hitting songs condemning domestic violence and supporting striking workers. Joe performed in Darlington at the Theatre Royal Music Hall.

Joe Wilson died in 1875, aged only 33, but during his brief life wrote 360 songs, many of which are still popular today: The Unthanks recorded Gallowgate Lad in 2011, Keep Your Feet Still, Geordie Hinny has been covered dozens of times and Sally Wheatley is a staple throughout UK folk clubs.

The play stars top North East actors Micky Cochrane, Sarah Boulter and the multi-award winning Jamie Brown. Musician Jordan Miller, who has just finished a European tour with top North East band The Lake Poets, completes the top-class quartet.

For more information or to book call 01325 405405 or visit