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Preview: House on Cold Hill at Newcastle Theatre Royal

All-Star Cast Bring New Ghostly Thriller To Haunt Theatre Royal Stage

The House on Cold Hill
Newcastle Theatre Royal
Monday 18th – Saturday 23rd March 2019

A stellar cast of TV favourites are bringing top crime author Peter James’ spine-tingling new world premiere play The House on Cold Hill to the Theatre Royal stage next week.  Prepare to have your nerves officially shredded between the 18-23 March 2019!

The no.1 best-selling author’s all new ‘page-to-stage’ thriller will be brought to vivid life by award-winning actress Rita Simons (Eastenders), and BAFTA nominated TV hearthrob Joe McFadden (The Crow Road, Heartbeat, Holby City, and winner of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing 2017).

Best known for playing Roxy Mitchell in the long-running BBC1 drama, Rita will play the role of ‘Caro Harcourt’, wife of McFadden’s ‘Ollie’. Their daughter ‘Jade’ will be played by Persephone Swales-Dawson (villainess Nico Blake in Hollyoaks) making her professional stage debut with Eastenders favourite Charlie Clements (Bradley Manning) playing ‘Chris’.

In James’ ghostly mystery, which is based on his own real-life experience, the Harcourt family - Ollie, Caro and daughter Jade – move into the house of their dreams, an old, dilapidated Georgian mansion which has lain empty and neglected for the last forty years. However, their ‘perfect’ home quickly turns into the stuff of nightmares, as they begin to sense that they aren’t the only residents at Cold Hill…

The ghostly thriller follows the incredible sell-out stage success of Not Dead EnoughThe Perfect Murder and Dead Simple, which have been huge hits on the Theatre Royal stage in recent years. 

Rita Simons won Most Popular Newcomer at the National Television Awards, and other awards and nominations include Best Newcomer at the Digital Spy Soap Awards, Best Onscreen Partnership for her character partnership with Ronnie Mitchell played by Samantha Womack, Best Newcomer at the TV Now awards, a nomination for Best Newcomer at the British Soap Awards and Best Newcomer at the Inside Soap Awards. 
Rita has also appeared as Hannah in Mile High, Julie in Dream Team and recently toured the UK and Ireland as Paulette Bonafonte in hit musical Legally Blonde.  In Spring 2012, Rita was the subject of a major documentary film Rita Simons: My Daughter, Deafness and Me made by Leopard Films for primetime BBC1. Rita actively supports the charity RNID. Most recently Rita rave reviews for her performance as ‘Lisa Prescott’ in the film The Krays: Dead Man Walking, an untold chapter from the notorious legend of the Kray Twins.

Rita Simons said, “I am really thrilled to be starring in the House on Cold Hill alongside such great actors as Joe, Charlie, Persephone and the rest the cast. I could not put it down when I first read the script – it’s a brilliant and modern day supernatural thriller that had me totally gripped and occasionally jumping out of my seat!.”

Joe McFadden is perhaps best known for playing series regular ‘Raf di Lucca in BBC1’s Holby City from 2014 – 2017, and as ‘P C Joe Mason’ in Heartbeat from 2010 - 2014. Other acclaimed TV roles include Sex, Chips and Rock n Roll, The Crow Road (for which he received a BAFTA nomination), Cranford and Take The High Road. His extensive theatrical credits include working with John Tiffany and the National Theatre of Scotland on The Missing, touring the UK with Alan Ayckbourn’s Haunting Julia, Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Rent at the Shaftesbury Theatre in the West End and Rainbow Kiss at the Royal Court. Last year he partnered with Katya Jones in BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing and captured the nation’s hearts, eventually winning the series to become the 2017 Strictly Champion.

Joe McFadden said, “I am so pleased to be on board for the new Peter James stage play. Peter’s had such incredible success as a novelist around the world and it’s been great to see how well his books have translated to the stage. The three previous plays have been huge hits with audiences around the country, so I am excited to have the opportunity to now bring his brilliant ghostly thriller to the stage for the very first time. I am looking forward to us shocking and thrilling audiences around the UK with The House on Cold Hill.”

Nearly half a million fans have now seen James’ work on stage in 30 cities across the UK and Ireland, and previous stars have included Claire Goose, Shane Richie, Jessie Wallace, Tina Hobley, Les Dennis, Jamie Lomas, Laura Whitmore, Robert Daws, and Dawn Steele.

The House on Cold Hill will reunite Peter James with two time Olivier-nominated theatre producer Joshua Andrews, the Olivier award winning director Ian Talbot and award-winning writer Shaun McKenna. Also joining the company are Padraig Lynch as ‘Fortinbras’, Tricia Deighton as ‘Annie’ and understudy Zoe Hickson, with further casting to be confirmed.

Photos: Helen Maybanks

The House on Cold Hill plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Monday 18th – Saturday 23rd March 2019. Tickets are priced from £14.50 and can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge).

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