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Preview: Elevator Festival at Newcastle’s Live Theatre

Six new plays, 10 days, 5 discussions with 12 leading theatre professionals make this year’s Elevator Festival the biggest yet!

Elevator Festival
Newcastle’s Live Theatre
Thursday 21st to Saturday 30th March 2019

Six new plays from writers and companies selected by Newcastle’s Live Theatre for their exceptional new ideas will be show-cased in Elevator Festival, which returns for its fourth edition between Thursday 21 to Saturday 30 March 2019. Picked as ones to watch in the new generation of theatre-makers, five of the companies were awarded a coveted Live Theatre bursary to develop their plays.

Graeme Thompson, Creative Producer, Live Theatre said; “Elevator Festival is a real celebration of talent and has a huge amount of quality work on offer. It’s a chance see six fantastic new plays which are all are very different but all fabulous stories and a great night out. These artists are all on the rise, so we’ll be seeing more their work in the future so it’s worth seeing them here at Elevator Festival first.”

Alt-Right on the Night written and performed by Matthew Greenhough explores friendship and disenfranchisement in modern Britain, with a punk rock sound track. Matthew trained as an actor at Northumbria University (and whilst studying worked on the bar at Live Theatre). His play Bismillah! – a play exploring radicalism with a Queen soundtrack played to a packed studio theatre when it came to Live Theatre last year.

West End Girls follows three different women’s stories across three housing estates and three moments in time, and was inspired by writer Adam Hughes’ research into local history in Newcastle. Adam is an Offie Award winning playwright who is linked to Finborough Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse and is part of BBC Writers Room Shadow Scheme. This is performed in a Double Bill with W*nk Buddies, a show which explores identity, gender, and sexuality. Written and performed by Jake Jarratt and Cameron Sharp and is inspired by their own meeting as students on the Northumbria University performing arts course. Both now graduates, Cameron is co-founder and performer in drag cabaret theatre group Bonnie and The Bonnettes whilst Jake makes theatre exploring identity.

Pops by Charlotte Josephine looks at the relationship between a father and daughter and their attempts to honestly connect. Josephine wrote and performed Edinburgh hit shows Bitch Boxer and Blush and is currently under commission at BBC Films. See this in a Double Bill with Locks, a play about a mixed-race English lad goes to find his identity in Jamaica and spends his 18th birthday in prison. Locks is written and performed by Ashleigh Nugent and adapted from his own memoir which won the 2013 Commonword Memoir Competition.

The Devil Danced in our Eyes by Jonluke McKie explores sexuality, mental health and the mother-son relationship through storytelling, sound and music. The play was in last year’s Elevator Scratch Night as Preconceived, and has been supported by Live Theatre into a longer show for this year’s Elevator Festival.

Accompanying the plays are a series of workshops and masterclasses in which leading theatre professionals share their insight into making new work. Talks include Working Class Representation on the Stage with Ishy Din, writer of Approaching Empty, Adam Hughes, writer of West End Girls, theatre maker Sian ArmstrongStupid, Northern Stage and Graeme Thompson, Creative Producer, Live Theatre. Future of Playwriting with playwrights Vinay Patel and Chris Bush and alongside Chris Foxon, of playwright development agency Papatango, Charlotte Bennett, Associate Director, Soho Theatre, and Joe Douglas, Artistic Director, Live Theatre. Women and The World with Writer and actor Tracy Gillman, Live Theatre Writer-in-Residence Chinonyerem Odimba, Charlotte Josephine writer of Pops and a FREE Introduction to Producing Discussion with Live Theatre’s Graeme Thompson and a range of theatre producers.

Live Theatre has also launched it’s call out for its 2019 Bursary offering £2,000, support and space to develop innovative new theatre for next year’s Elevator Festival. See for details.

As well as the companies performing in this year’s Elevator Festival, previous Live Theatre Bursary winners include Rat Boy by Christina Berriman Dawson and Lee Mattinson, who are now currently working on a full length version of the play for Live Theatre, The Soaking of Vera Shrimp by Alison Carr and Captain Amazing by Alistair McDowall, both of which were produced a full length productions by live Theatre and transferred to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

“For young artists, it is a luxury to have the time to dedicate to the process of making a show, without constantly have to think about the end product. Having the support of Live Theatre gave us more confidence, we got to meet other artists working in the building and we had a space to develop and thrive.” Cameron Sharp and Jake Jarratt, 2018 Bursary recipients

Tickets for plays in Elevator Festival cost between £8 and £10, with concessions £8 and £6. Discussions are £3. Live Theatre has extended availability of its concession priced tickets to include all young people aged 25 and under, proof of age is needed when booking or collecting tickets.
To book tickets and to find out more contact Live Theatre’s box office on (0191) 232 1232 or visit

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