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Preview: Three Tall Women at Newcastle People’s Theatre

 The North-East premiere of Three Tall Women, the Pulitzer Prize winning play by Edward Albee.


Three Tall Women by Edward Albee

Newcastle People’s Theatre

Tuesday 31 May – Saturday 4 June 2022

This engaging examination of the life of one woman remains one of Albee’s most compelling and personal plays.

Darkly comic, and told with unflinching precision, the play captures three women in various stages of life: youth, middle age, and old age.

As the older woman’s life is laid out, she must examine her relationship with herself. How did she become who she is? How can any of us know who we are — or who we’re destined to become?

Albee is famous for writing fiercely strong female characters and here he drew inspiration from his adoptive mother, someone described as both his monster and his muse.

Written almost thirty years after arguably Albee’s most famous play ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’, Three Tall Women won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play, and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play. Its recent Broadway revival also bagged a slew of trophies including Tony Awards for Glenda Jackson and Laurie Metcalf.

Director Hugh Keegan adds: “This is Albee at his best. One woman’s journey through life from ambitious hope through steely resignation to acceptance, told with consummate theatrical construction and razor sharp dialogue.”

The People’s are excited to bring this startling and compelling psychodrama to North East audiences for the first time.

Three Tall Women is playing at the Studio Theatre of the People’s Theatre in Heaton from Tuesday 31st May to Saturday 4th June. To support audience members who feel more comfortable in a less busy space, the run includes a reduced capacity performance on Tuesday 31st where mask-wearing is required.

Photo: Tim Swinton


Find out more and book your tickets at or from the box office at 0191 265 5020.   


REVIEW: Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Newcastle Theatre Royal

Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Newcastle Theatre Royal 

Until Saturday 4 June 2022

Joseph is back on Tyneside, but not how you remember it. Producer Michael Harrison and his team have given the show a thorough revamp. The songs are all still there but the new direction, set design, choreography and lighting combine to give a much more engaging and lively show. Add into the mix the very talented leads of Linzi Hateley, Jason Donovan and Jac Yarrow and a brilliant ensemble and you possibly have one of the best productions of Joseph to date.

Before the show there was already a youthful buzz amongst the packed audience. There is something about this show which makes it an attractive bridge between early experiences of theatre (panto) and more mature shows for the younger members of the audience. Gareth Owen’s sound design is not too loud for young ears either. This is going to be a big hit over the forthcoming half term.

The shows begins with narrator Linzi Hateley gathering a group of young cast members around a camp fire. Not for this production a large static staircase with a largely stationary young choir. The full cast frequently find themselves in intricate movement around the stage. This choreography has more in common with recent musical hits like School of Rock rather than the original choral piece.

Joseph is performed by Jac Yarrow, who successfully filled the shoes of one of musical theatre’s popular roles. Here is one of the other changes with the show: I feel that there is more breaking of the fourth wall, from the shrug of young cast member dragging the sheep across the stage through to Linzi encouraging a reaction from the audience. This leads to a more personable show and makes the comedy feel more natural and less enforced upon the audience.

Jac’s costume represents a departure from designer Morgan Large from some of the set pieces of previous recent shows - but there’s going to be no spoilers here.

I don’t recall having the orchestra in the pit either. Musical Director John Rigby is occasionally picked out by Ben Cracknell’s lighting design and it is clear that the musicians are also viewing this a fun show.  The musicians did not put a foot wrong all night and they helped maintain the energy of the show.

Act 2 brings on Jason Donovan as the Pharaoh. Jason is a natural in the live situation and the performance is enhanced by the three ringed circus  that develops.

Joseph runs for about two hours, including interval, and is sung through. That is: the entire show is made up of songs with no unsung spoken parts. In order for this to work it needs good singers. Linzi has a very good voice, Jac impressed us with his interpretation of the songs and Jason is a star act. On top of this there is good acting and movement around the stage.

Linzi is probably the most personable narrator that we have seen in the role. Jac is clearly one to watch as his career develops and Jason will always get a warm welcome over here. The ensemble is also great to watch. From the experienced adult dancers through to the younger performers - this is a very impressive group.

So despite seeing Joseph a number of times, I felt that this show offered something new. It had a refreshing energy. It was a funny show too. There is life in this production that has origins that date back to 1968.

Review: Stephen Oliver  

Photos: Tristram Kenton


Please note Jason Donovan will not be performing on Fri 3 June (7.30pm) and Sat 4 June (2.30pm and 7.30pm performances)

Tickets are available from the theatre box office and online from 


Preview: LOST VOICE GUY – Cerebal LOL-SY at Newcastle Tyne Theatre




Gag Reflex in association with Andrew Roach Talent presents

Lost Voice Guy – Cerebal LOL-SY

Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House

Saturday 28th May 2022



Following the success of his sell out debut tour in 2019 – during which he performed at over 100 UK venues – Lee Ridley (aka Lost Voice Guy) is heading back out on the road in 2022 (post Lockdown!) to put a smile on the faces of people up and down the country once again.

The Britain’s Got Talent winner will poke fun at his life living as a disabled person in a post-apocalyptic world as he tries to cope with the fame and fortune since his memorable victory. From the highs of meeting 50% of The Chuckle Brothers to the lows of being called “him off The X Factor”, and everything in between.

Now with his very own Geordie accent his comedy, his comedy is sure to leave you speechless.  

Lee is the first stand-up comedian to use a communication aid. He made his first stand-up appearance in February 2012 and took his first ever solo show to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2013. He has performed a show there every year since (until COVID 19 came along).

As well as winning Britain’s Got Talent 2018 Lee also won the BBC New Comedy Award in 2014 and has appeared on some of the country’s most popular TV shows including The One Show, This Morning, Lorraine and BBC Breakfast.

He has performed for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on The Royal Variety Performance, appeared on Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions, America’s Got Talent: The Champions, Live At The Apollo, Comic Relief, The Last Leg, The Now Show, Question Team and Comedians Giving Lectures. Lee has also just filmed an episode of Pointless Celebrities.

The fourth series of Lee’s popular Radio 4 sitcom, Ability, which he co-writes and in which he also stars, has just been commissioned and his debut book, I’m Only In It For The Parking – a humorous autobiographical look at disability and the way we approach it – was published in paperback in 2021.

Lee’s Christmas special Christmas Comedy Club with Lost Voice Guy will air on ITV1 this December.

Lee is an Ambassador for the charity Scope and is also a patron of Smile For Life, Find A Voice, Communication Matters, The Scott-Morgan Foundation and The Sequal Trust.



Tickets are available from the theatre box office and online our affiliate Eventim UK:


Preview: Ian Waite & Vincent Simone - ACT 2 at South Shields Customs House




Ian Waite & Vincent Simone - ACT 2

South Shields Customs House

Wednesday 22nd June 2022

South Shields Arts Centre, The Customs House will be waltzing into summer with the arrival of Strictly Come Dancing double act, Ian Waite and Vincent Simone.

The duo are promising a glittering night of dance, comedy, song, and stacks of old school variety glamour when they bring their 5-star rated ACT TWO show to the South Tyneside venue on Wednesday 22nd June.

Vincent will introduce his new leading lady, Despina Violari, a world class Argentine Tango and Salsa specialist, while Ian’s leading lady, the phenomenal Faye Huddleston of Burn the Floor and Rip It Up fame, returns along with West End vocalist Amelia Adams.

Ian says of the new show “Myself and Vince joined up for the 2019 tour because we wanted to do something completely different to all the other Strictly tours. We never imagined that it would be so popular, the audiences loved it, which is amazing! So, we thought, why not do it again?”

Vincent adds, “I’m so happy to be performing with Ian again. We have loved getting back on the road and entertaining audiences. And I’m sure they have missed me a lot!! We are really over-whelmed with all the support we saw for the first leg of Act Two in the autumn.”

Having both been professional dancers for the hit BBC show for a number of years, with their partners including Zoe Ball, Penny Lancaster, Rachel Stevens, and Louisa Lytton, Ian and Vincent continued to be involved with the show in different roles - Ian was a regular on It Takes Two for ten years with his ‘Waite’s Warm-Up’ section until announcing in May 2021 that he would be stepping away from the show and Vincent regularly choreographs the Argentine Tango routines that are seen on the main programme.

The fabulous Strictly Come Dancing stars promise another wonderful evening, with beautiful costumes, gorgeous lighting and world-class routines. If you enjoyed The Ballroom Boys, then make sure you don’t miss the hilarious dancing duo when they bring you…ACT TWO.

Photo: Image 1st London



Ian Waite & Vincent Simone appear live at The Customs House with their ACT 2 show on Wednesday 22nd June 2022. Tickets are priced from £28 and available online at, from the box office in person or on (0191) 454 1234.

VIP Meet and Greet Tickets Available

The VIP ticket, priced at £65, includes show ticket, plus a pre-show Meet & Greet with Ian & Vincent, a signed photo & VIP Lanyard. The meet and greet is PRE-SHOW, 90 minutes before the show begins.


Preview: The Ocean At The End Of The Lane at Sunderland Empire



The National Theatre’s Critically Acclaimed Production Of

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

will tour to

Sunderland Empire

from 28 February – 4 March 2023

as part of a major UK and Ireland tour  


The National Theatre’s critically acclaimed adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean At The End Of The Lane will tour the UK and Ireland later this year, direct from the West End, visiting Sunderland Empire from 28 February – 4 March 2023. Directed by Katy Rudd (Camp Siegfried) and adapted by Joel Horwood (Skins, I Want My Hat Back), the first major stage adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s work is a thrilling adventure of fantasy, myth and friendship, which blends magic with memory in a tour-de-force of storytelling that takes audiences on an epic journey to a childhood once forgotten and the darkness that lurks at the very edge of it.

Returning to his childhood home, a man finds himself standing beside the pond of the old Sussex farmhouse where he used to play. He's transported to his 12th birthday when his remarkable friend Lettie claimed it wasn't a pond, but an ocean – a place where everything is possible... 

Plunged into a magical world, their survival depends on their ability to reckon with ancient forces that threaten to destroy everything around them. 

Touring for a total of 40 weeks, this is the largest tour mounted by the National Theatre since before the COVID-19 pandemic. It follows a celebrated six-month run of The Ocean at the End of the Lane at the Duke of York’s Theatre in the West End, which opened in November 2021 after the production received its world premiere in the Dorfman Theatre in late 2019.  

Writer Neil Gaiman said: “The Ocean at the End of the Lane is about memory, magic, family. It’s about who you were and who you are. It’s not like anything else I’ve ever been involved in. It’s not like anything else you’ll ever see at the theatre. The Ocean at the End of the Lane has its own theatrical magic. It's why happy people tell you that they cried while watching it, it's why it becomes a dreamlike experience in memory, it gets bigger the further inside you follow it. Like a duck pond that contains an ocean that holds the universe…”  

Director Katy Rudd said: “When Neil Gaiman gave the National Theatre his blessing to stage his novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane we knew that this book was treasured across the world by Neil Gaiman’s legions of fans. The writer, Joel Horwood and I wanted to be faithful to the novel and at the same time create a big, bold, visual show with more than just a little bit of magic.

Thanks to our amazing creative team we found ways to fit an ocean into a bucket, and bring huge mythical creatures like the Hunger Birds to life on stage….but at its heart, Ocean is a human story about a family and a young boy growing up, experiencing real emotion and real pain, and finding a way to get through it with the help of his friends. We hope we have created something that is both profound and visually exciting that will appeal, not only to regular theatre audiences, but also to younger people from the ‘Netflix generation’ who might not have been to the theatre before. It is a beautiful, rich, multi-faceted story and as this production goes on tour we are still adapting and evolving it and finding new meaning in its depths. That is the magic of live theatre and we can’t wait to share it with our audiences.”

National Theatre Director Rufus Norris said: “That Joel Horwood, Katy Rudd and their formidable creative team have managed to wrestle Neil Gaiman’s incredible imagination and the worlds which spring from it onto a stage is magic in itself. We’re so proud to tour this work around the UK and Ireland, to share this beautiful story with audiences nationally, and to visit so many gorgeous theatres which, like ours, have recently been dark for too long.” 

Neil Gaiman is known for his graphic novels, including The Sandman series (with a major new Netflix series scheduled for release in 2022); his novels for adults and children including Stardust, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book; and multiple film and television projects including Good Omens and Anansi Boys. The Ocean at the End of the Lane was the winner of the Book of the Year at the 2013 National Book Awards and has sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide. 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane introduces audiences to Gaiman’s magical world and the much-loved characters that inhabit it, fully realised on stage. An award-winning creative team join Katy Rudd and Joel Horwood; with set design by Fly Davis (Beginning; Caroline or Change) and costume and puppet design by Samuel Wyer (The Boy in the Dress; 2022 Best Family Show Olivier Award winner for Wolf Witch Giant Fairy). Movement direction is by Steven Hoggett (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), composition by Jherek Bischoff (LA based composer and multi-instrumentalist whose collaborators include David Byrne, Amanda Palmer, and Regina Spektor), lighting design is by Paule Constable (5 times winner of the Olivier Award for Best Lighting Design, including for The Ocean at the End of the Lane in 2020), sound design by Ian Dickinson for Autograph (Angels in America; Small Island; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), magic and illusions direction and design by Jamie Harrison (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and puppetry direction by Finn Caldwell (2022 Olivier Award winner for Life of Pi; War Horse). Tour casting is by Sarah Hughes CDG. Cast to be announced.  

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is suitable for ages 12+

Photos featuring the 2021-22 West End cast: Manuel Harlan


ATG Theatre Card holder ticket pre-sale from 19 May 2022, and General tickets on-sale from 20 May 2022 can be booked via

News: Customs House Academy Welcomes New Honorary Fellows


The Customs House Academy Welcomes New Honorary Fellows

The Customs House Academy, launched to mark the 150th anniversary of the building’s opening, recognises and honours the achievements of exceptional individuals who have made a major contribution to the world of arts and entertainment and have a significant connection with South Tyneside.

On Sunday, 19th June, The Customs House Academy will welcome Janis Blower and Jeff Brown  to become Honorary Fellows. Janis is an author and journalist, whose contribution  to the Shields Gazette over 40 years won many awards; her Cookson Country collection can be found in expat homes around the world. Jeff who after a career in journalism, joined the sports team at Tyne Tees TV before moving to BBC Look North as sports presenter, before becoming the regular anchor for the show; his play ‘Cornered’ tells the story of David Corner and the aftermath of the “Friendly” league cup final. The afternoon will be hosted by the Voice of North East News, Stephanie Finnon from BBC Radio Newcastle.  

Ray Spencer, Executive Director explained: “Jeff & Janis are both Legends in their own fields and have that rare gift in modern journalism that they are loved and trusted by the communities they serve”

Jeff & Janis join a very exclusive club of Honorary Fellows that includes Sarah Millican, Jason Cook, Chris & Rosie Ramsay, Jade Thirlwall, Joe McElderry, Nadine Shah, Jamie Lambert, Encore, Ann-Marie Owens, John Woodvine, John Hays, Tom Kelly, John Miles, Andy Bogle, Lindsay Kemp, Sheila Graber, Bob Olley, Alex Ferguson, Richard Ord, George Iriving, Sandford Goudie and Nigel Begg.

Tickets for the event are priced at £25 each can be purchased by calling 0191 454 1234 (Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 3pm) or online at 


Preview: Whale of a Time at Newcastle Alphabetti

Peachplant Productions & Alphabetti Theatre present

Whale of a Time

Newcastle Alphabetti

Tuesday 17th May - Saturday 4th June 2022

Peachplant Productions and Alphabetti Theatre are co-producing the World premiere of Whale of a Time by Lucy Curry & Carl Wylie, directed by Paula Penman.

A play about two men in a whale. But why?

Set inside the belly of a whale, we meet Albert, a man in his fifties who has been here for half of his life. Why is he inside of a whale? He has no idea, but after 25 years, he’s pretty much accepted it, it’s home. In washes Robbie, in his twenties and full of beans.

They’re an unlikely pairing but we follow their meeting as it turns into friendship.

Conversations about life events that Albert had no idea about. What’s Google? Who’s Raoul Moat? And what the hell is a vegan sausage roll?

Albert has always wanted to get back home to his wife but the only way back is through the blowhole of the whale and it seems like an impossible task. Could Robbie be the solution Albert has been waiting for all these years? And more importantly, why are they here in the first place? Whale Of A Time explores friendship, 'being a man' in different generations and how one person can change the rest of your life.

Peachplant are a new company in the North East founded in 2021 made up of Lucy Curry and Carl Wylie. Both started out as actors and have opened new doors along the way such as writing, movement directing and illustration. They’re no strangers to Alphabetti and love the work that Alphabetti does for the people and creatives of Newcastle. Peachplant aim to tell ordinary stories in extraordinary ways.

Cast & Creatives:

Writer: Lucy Curry & Carl Wylie

Director: Paula Penman

Stage Manager: Andrea Scrimshaw

Designer: Kylie Ann Ford

Lighting Designer: Simon Cole

Sound Designer: Luke Gaul

Photography & Videography: Matt Jamie

Producers: Lucy Curry & Carl Wylie, with support from Esther Fearn and Ali Pritchard

Cast: Steve Byron & Luke Maddison

On The Web:

Twitter - @peachplant_

Instagram @peachplantproductions

Facebook - Peachplant Productions

Captioned Performance: Wednesday 25th May 2022

Audio Described Performance: Wednesday 1st June 2022

Relaxed Performance: all Saturday Matinees

Age: 16+, strong language and themes that audience members may find distressing.


Tickets are Pay What You Feel and are available from 

Preview: Queen’s Hall Arts Centre announces Summer programme

 Queen’s Hall Arts Centre announces Summer programme

The Queen!s Hall Arts Centre in Hexham has announced a sizzling Summer programme celebrating the local community. Special events for the Queen’s Jubilee, Hexham Book Festival and Tynedale Community Choir’s 20th Birthday, alongside live music, theatre, dance, stand-up comedy and family shows, including a new adaptation of The Secret Garden set in Northumberland, commissioned by Queen’s Hall Arts and premiering at the Hexham Book Festival.

The Queen's Hall - photo: Jason Thompson, Sound Ideas Media

Artistic Director Katy Taylor said, "Summer is the season we traditionally offer up our spaces to the local community. From Hexham Book Festival to a whole host of exciting events celebrating the Queen's Jubilee and Tynedale Community Choir's 20th Birthday event, this year is certainly no different! We’re delighted to finally share the beautiful music created by Bridie Jackson and performed by North East musicians, celebrating the Unsung Heroes who made a difference in our local community during the pandemic. Rehearsals are already underway for a new adaptation of The Secret Garden, set right here in Northumberland. And we’ve got more live performances throughout the summer with something for audiences of all ages to enjoy.”

Summer highlights include:

The Secret Garden (12 June) - families are invited to discover the magic of The Secret Garden as writers Lisette Auton and Becci Sharrock join forces to bring an enchanting newly adapted version of this classic tale set in Northumberland.

The Secret Garden by Lisette Auton and Becci Sharrock 

Telling the true story of Harry Clasper - the greatest sporting superstar the North East has ever seen, Hadaway Harry (17 June) by Ed Waugh is a moving and humorous play that follows Harry’s journey from working class pitman in Jarrow to Rowing Champion of the World.

Jamie Brown as Harry Glasper in Hadaway Harry

Shakespeare!s Globe present Julius Caesar (24 June) - the Bard!s brutal tale of ambition and revolution comes to Hexham Abbey Grounds this summer with a special outdoor performance; Ancient Rome has never felt so close to home.

Julius Caesar from Shakespeare's Globe

Unsung Heroes (21 July) celebrates local people who made a difference in their community during the pandemic. North East singer songwriter Bridie Jackson created beautiful new songs about people nominated by the public, and will perform live with local musicians to launch this augmented reality project and exhibition by international multimedia artists Davy & Kristin McGuire.

Popular North East company Eliot Smith Dance return with Life & Other Stories (23 June) - four diverse contemporary dance pieces filled with physical movement, passion and excitement.

SING! Hexham Day of Song (25 June) will see Hexham come alive with singing workshops and performances to celebrate the Tynedale Community Choir's 20th Birthday. 

Live music includes The Quo Experience (3 June) - five decades of hits in the UK’s number one Status Quo tribute show; The Katatsitsi Drummers (4 June) - a group of traditional drummers, dancers and singers from the Ga tribe of Southern Ghana; Alistair McGowan (7 June) brings a new show combining his talents as a master impressionist and comedian with his new-found talent as a classical pianist; and The Floyd Effect (29 July) features a complete performance of the iconic Dark Side of the Moon album, as well as other much-loved tracks from Pink Floyd’s catalogue.

For comedy fans, TV household name Ed Byrne is back on 8 June with If I’m Honest - a brand new masterclass in observational comedy that’s selling fast. Plus a double helping of stand-up comedy on 10 June, with a show especially for kids at 4.30pm followed by the Funny Words Gala as part of the Hexham Book Festival, with special guest Rhys James who has appeared on Mock the Week and Russell Howard’s Stand Up Central.

Ed Byrne

Family shows include HEDGE (16 June) - a brand-new show for children aged 4+ that combines dance, beautiful costumes, innovative props and puppetry to create an imaginative space for little ones to explore and enjoy. The Tortoise and The Hare (4-6 August) - an interactive story for under 6s and their grownups with live music and puppetry from Kitchen Zoo, the family theatre company that brought us Wolf! and Bumbling About.

The Queen's Hall continues to have Covid safety measures in place to keep audiences, artists and staff safe including encouraging face coverings, hand sanitiser stations, extra cleaning and e-tickets to avoid congestion at the box office.


For more information or to book tickets visit or call the box office on 01434 652 477