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News: Live Theatre is thrilled to announce four highlight productions of its upcoming 50th birthday year.

 From Kevin Keegan to Nadine Shah, political fallouts to family mayhem,  Live Theatre’s 50th birthday year offers an epic picture of a changing North East.  


Live Theatre is thrilled to announce four highlight productions of its upcoming 50th birthday year.  

Live Theatre’s Artistic Director Jack McNamara


Standouts from one of the country’s premiere new writing theatres includes the political play Love It If We Beat Them, the music-inspired To Be A Young Man, the epic family saga The Cold Buffet and the three-playwright theatrical feast Three Acts of Love. Booking is now open for these shows with the full season to be announced in early 2023.  

Kicking off this special milestone season is Love It If We Beat Them by Rob Ward, a new play that sees politics and the beautiful game come together from Thursday 2 to Saturday 25 March 2023.  It’s Spring 1996, Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United are riding high in the Premier League and Tony Blair’s New Labour are gathering pace. Len a long term, hard left activist, has decided to run as a candidate for local Labour MP, but the arrival of Victoria from Manchester as New Labour’s front runner throws a spanner in the works. With loyalties tested and tensions reaching fever pitch, the winning team will be decided in an explosive head-to-head challenge. This opening production will be directed by North East director Bex Bowsher.  


Nadine Shah

Nadine Shah is one of the most important figures in contemporary music, with a voice that captures the richness, depth and complexity of her Pakistani-Norwegian heritage and South Tyneside upbringing. As her game changing debut album Love Your Dum and Mad turns 10, Shah works with acclaimed writer Jackie Thompson to draw from one of the most profound moments of her life with a deeply personal story of rehabilitation, unlikely friendships and the endless power of creativity. Shah and Thompson have a long standing friendship that will inform this new play, To Be A Young Man, full of  haunting music and gallows humour, will run at Live Theatre from Thursday 4 to Saturday 20 May 2023 before heading to the Brighton Festival on May 23. There will be a number of select performances in which Shah will perform a very special sparse musical set after the show.  

In the autumn, we present the epic comedy  The Cold Buffet by up and coming star playwright Elijah Young. Set in a function room and following the same North East family through a wedding, a wake and a birthday party, Young’s play will combine the format of the classic family saga with the acidic comedy of a Martin Parr photograph. It will run at Live Theatre Thursday 5 to Saturday 28 October 2023.   

Elijah Young

To round off the year is Three Acts Of Love written by three radical female playwrights  Laura Lindow, Naomi Obeng and Vici Wreford-Sinnott. Three narratives bursting with politics and passion explore what love means today, in an evening of music and drama as a warm as a winter hug.  Immersive and subversive, political and playful, this will be a true banquet of an evening for the festive season, running from Thursday 30 November to Saturday 16 December 

Live Theatre’s Artistic Director Jack McNamara said: “Live Theatre has survived against so many odds to get to this point.  From our roots in community touring to our beautiful Quayside building today, the one constant has been a deep commitment to the voices and stories of our region. Throughout the year we will celebrate our past in all kinds of ways. But I wanted the main focus of our creative investment to be on the new, the unheard, the future. Taking risks is in our blood, so how better to mark our birthday than by asking artists to take bold new steps and giving audiences a genuine sense of event. With the hugely significant cuts to new writing theatres this year it feels more crucial than ever for us to fly the flag for the writers and dreamers who keep this art form current and alive.”  


The year round 50th birthday celebrations will also feature a host of visiting productions and Live Theatre premieres, some very special celebratory readings, special guests and events to mark the milestone anniversary with more details to be released in the New Year.  Theatre lovers can see more and save with Live Theatre’s multibuy offer – book two shows and save 10%, three shows to save 20% and book for all four to save  a generous 30% on full price tickets.  

To find out more and book tickets for these birthday year standouts and a great night of theatre go to or call Box Office on (0191) 232 1232. 

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