The Kids Are Alright - A new site-specific show coming to Byker
The Kids Are Alright
Byker Estate & Digital livestream
Monday 9th - Tuesday 10 November 2020
Following a series of pop-up outdoor performances on the iconic Grade II* Listed Byker Estate in Newcastle this summer, Northern Stage is working with Encounter and Fuel to bring a new site-specific show to residents in November.
The Kids Are Alright explores the extraordinary grief of losing a child. At a time when we are all experiencing loss and grief in multiple and varying ways, this project aims to provide a space to explore those feelings safely and with lightness and humour.
|The Kids Are Alright - Janet Etuk + Carl Harrison|
Photo: Jen Malarkey
Originally created for the stage, The Kids Are Alright has been reimagined as an outdoor performance for socially distanced audiences in housing estates across London and Newcastle. The story, characters and visual world are centred on the estates where the audience lives. Filmed with mobile phones and broadcast directly through Facebook, The Kids Are Alright is a uniquely intimate, accessible and safe live performance experience.
The show will be performed at various locations around the Byker Estate for residents to experience from their homes, balconies or gardens while listening on headphones. There will also be a digital livestream.
Writer Lee Mattinson said, “Having worked in Byker over the last two years I’ve really got to know residents, so I can’t wait to bring The Kids Are Alright to its streets. To reimagine the show for a community I’ve come to feel so at home in is a joy. Not only does this new site-specific version dance the same dotted line between comedy and tragedy as the original stage production but there’s something delicious in creating a live performance exclusively for residents on the Estate.”
Northern Stage has a long term commitment to working in Byker. The company’s main rehearsal space is next to Byker Primary School and Northern Stage plays a lead role in the Byker Children and Young People’s Partnership (BCYPP), a pioneering initiative comprised of almost 50 organisations working together to raise aspirations, enrich lives and achieve social change.
When the UK went into lockdown earlier this year, the Northern Stage team quickly adapted to meet the changing needs of residents - working in partnership to help deliver food parcels and activity packs, and regularly speaking to isolated members of the local community. This led to the Doorstep Music project – 48 pop up music performances over the summer, and Northern Stage Young Company co-creating eight brand new audio experiences for Byker and beyond made with the local community. Northern Stage was also one of the partners involved in Byker’s Best Summer Ever, funded by StreetGames, Byker Community Trust (BCT) housing association and Newcastle City Council. More than 150 children, young people and their families took part in a range of activities each week throughout August across four outdoor locations on the Estate.
Jill Haley, Chief Executive of BCT, which owns and manages 1,800 homes on the Estate, said, “Community investment and partnership working is at the heart of the Thriving Byker Strategy. Since 2018 when it was implemented on the Estate, a whole host of other community partners have come together to support BCT and the Council by sharing our vision for a thriving Byker. Through our pioneering and unique collaboration, we have delivered lots of exciting events and activities for residents of all ages to participate in and enjoy. Northern Stage is an active partner in the Byker Children and Young People’s Network and have been engaged by supporting the delivery of programmes here on the Byker Estate. Following the success of the pop-up outdoor performances over the summer, I know our residents will be just as keen to watch this latest production.”
Northern Stage Participation Director Jill Adamson said, “We’ve been working in Byker for three years now, and although it's been a difficult year for everyone, having to adapt what we do and think differently has given us the chance to really get to know local residents. We’ve cooked and shared food together, danced on doorsteps together and created new work together so we’re really excited to share this new site-specific show from Fuel and Encounter with the Byker community.”
Byker residents can watch The Kids Are Alright at 5pm and 8pm on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 November. The event is free and headphones will be given out prior to each performance along with hot food provided by Food Nation. The free livestream will be available to watch at 5pm on 10 November at https://fb.me/e/5CgRxl0T0