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Preview: Tyne To Stand Up... Again! at Newcastle Tyne Theatre


Tyne To Stand Up... Again! on International Women's Day

Newcastle Tyne Theatre and Opera House

Wednesday 8th March 2023


A gala of the great women comedians in the North East is to take place at the iconic Tyne Theatre and Opera House to mark International Women’s Day. The show takes place in aid of Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland with all money going to the charity. An awesome line-up has been assembled, with the show shining a light on women and the incredible talent we have in the region.

All comedians are donating their time for free to this incredible cause and the range of comedic viewpoints on show will ensure a raucous night out for all those in attendance on 8th March.

This rare gala show is a massive event for the North East’s cultural calendar, with this showcase of the rambunctious women North East comedy regularly produces sure to be a night to remember.

Line up:

Host: Sammy Dobson


Louise Young

Your Aunt Fanny

Anja Atkinson

Catherine Young

Elaine Robertson

Lauren Stone

Kelly Edgar

Catherine Scot

Julie Grady Thomas

Sascha Lo

Estelle Anderson

Sam Mayes

Kelly Rickard

Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland is a charity that provides services to women and girls who live, work or study in Tyneside and Northumberland. It is completely independent of the criminal justice system, including the police, and its services are for women and girls over 13 who have experienced any form of sexual violence at any time in their lives. Services are free and confidential.



Preview: Aladdin at Sunderland Empire







Sunderland Empire

15 February – 10 March 2024


Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher, today announce that their critically acclaimed Broadway and West End musical Aladdin will tour the UK and Ireland for the first time, opening in Edinburgh in October 2023, followed by dates in Cardiff, Plymouth, Sunderland, and Milton Keynes, with further cities to be announced. Tickets will go on sale in March and full casting will be announced in due course.

Disney’s ALADDIN.
Photo of original London production.
Photo by Deen Van Meer. ©Disney.

Experience the timeless story of Disney’s Aladdin, a thrilling production filled with unforgettable magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle! Don’t miss this extraordinary theatrical event already seen by over 14 million people worldwide, where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite.

Adapted from Disney’s 1992 animated film and centuries-old folktales including “One Thousand and One Nights”, this smash-hit musical is brought to theatrical life in a unique and dazzling way. The show continues its record-breaking run on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre, and since opening there in March 2014, nine subsequent productions have launched around the world, including its 2016 West End premiere at the Prince Edward Theatre, London where the show ran until August 2019.

Disney’s ALADDIN.
Photo of original London production.
Photo by Deen Van Meer. ©Disney.

"As Aladdin approaches its second decade onstage, we are thrilled that the 11th production of the glorious Broadway show will soon be seen by audiences throughout the UK and Ireland.   Thanks to Casey Nicholaw's direction, Alan Menken's music and the peerless design team of Bob Crowley, Natasha Katz and Gregg Barnes this show is a powerful tonic, an irresistible lift for every audience who sees it,' said Thomas Schumacher, President & Producer Disney Theatrical Productions. "The musical theatre performers in the UK and Ireland rival any on the planet and we look forward to presenting the best of them in this joyous new production."

Aladdin features the timeless songs from the animated film, as well as new music by Tony®, Olivier®, Grammy® and eight-time Acadamy Award® winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Sister Act), lyrics by two-time Academy Award® winner Howard Ashman (Beauty and the BeastThe Little Mermaid), three-time Tony® and three-time Academy Award® winner Tim Rice (The Lion KingEvitaAida) and six-time Tony® nominee Chad Beguelin (The PromThe Wedding Singer), with a book by Beguelin, and is directed and choreographed by Tony® and Olivier® Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon).   

Disney’s ALADDIN.
Photo of original London production.
Photo by Deen Van Meer. ©Disney.

Aladdin is designed by seven-time Tony®-winning scenic designer Bob Crowley, seven-time Tony®-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz, two-time Tony®-winning costume designer Gregg Barnes and sound designer Ken Travis. 

The production team also includes illusion designers Jim Steinmeyer and Rob Lake, hair designer Josh Marquette and makeup designer Milagros Medina-Cerdeira.  The music team is headed by music supervisor and music director Michael Kosarin, who also created the vocal and incidental music arrangements, joined by orchestrator Danny Troob and dance music arranger Glen Kelly. Ben Clare is the associate director, Kyle Seeley is the dance supervisor, Jason Trubitt is the production supervisor and Myriah Bash is the US general manager. Casting is by Jill Green CDG.

Tickets will be available from ATG Tickets: 


News: Author Ann Cleeves to host live whodunnit in Newcastle to help save the day for Boho Arts

 Author Ann Cleeves to host live whodunnit in Newcastle to help save the day for Boho Arts

The author of Vera and Shetland, Ann Cleeves is to host her interactive murder mystery, Bannocks and Blood on Sunday 5th March, to raise funds for Boho Arts’ crowdfunding campaign: to transform an old vacant building near central station into a vibrant creative arts venue that will bring people together to connect, collaborate and be creative in this post-covid era. But the project is at risk if the public don’t get behind it too.

“I'm delighted to host a fun murder mystery to support this fabulous project. Boho Arts will provide a wonderfully inclusive space for creative people throughout the region.”

Ann Cleeves, Author

Anne Cleeves 
Photo: Joe Haydon Photography

Boho Arts launched the crowdfunding campaign in November, and raised £34,000 in public donations so far, including £25,000 from North of Tyne Combined Authority. But if they don’t hit their £41,400 target by the 13th March deadline, all the money is returned, and the project can’t go ahead.

“Industry without art is brutality. But artists need a place to work, to write, to paint, sculpt and perform. That’s where Boho Arts come in and why their project is so important. We’ve stumped up £25,000 but we need the public to help get them over the line. Please donate if you can.” 

Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Mayor

Bev Fox and Ian McLaughlin, founders of Boho Arts, formed as a charitable company in response to the pandemic and the demolition of artists’ ‘meanwhile spaces’, are well known in Newcastle as members of The Suggestibles improv comedy group, who will also be performing at the fundraiser.

There is a lack of available, accessible and affordable space in Newcastle for grassroots artists to develop and engage with audiences. It’s a serious problem for the creative community. Now with a 25-year lease being prepared and planning permission granted for a theatre, workshop rooms and a café-bar, if the new venue comes to fruition off the back of the campaign, it will create new jobs and offer lots of ways for the public to enjoy different artforms in fun and meaningful ways.

“We were totally thrilled when Ann offered to support our campaign. We hope more people will take part in making this vision a reality. After getting so far it would be incredibly sad to fall at the last hurdle.” 

Bev Fox, Co-founder, Boho Arts


Murder Mystery with Ann Cleeves and the Suggestibles

Sunday 5th March at the Black Swan, Newcastle Arts Centre, 67 Westgate Road, NE1 1SG

Book Tickets at: 

Pledge to Boho Arts’ Crowdfunding Campaign on Spacehive: 

Other ways to donate: click the blue donate button at the top of Boho Arts’ website: 

Boho Arts on Social Media: 



Preview: Birmingham Royal Ballet – Swan Lake at Sunderland Empire


Birmingham Royal Ballet’s revival of Sir PeterWright and Galina Samsova’s glorious journey into Swan Lake comes to Sunderland


Birmingham Royal Ballet – Swan Lake

Sunderland Empire

Thursday 9 – 11 March 2023

Tickets: From £13 available from:


For spring 2023, ballet’s greatest love story returns in Birmingham Royal Ballet’s revival of Sir Peter Wright and Galina Samsova’s glorious journey into Swan Lake, a lavish production in which the Royal Ballet Sinfonia performs Tchaikovsky’s superb music live alongside BRB’s spectacular dancers. This romantic fable of ill-fated passion has bewitched audiences for generations and will tour to Sunderland Empire March 2023.


This treasured production of Swan Lake is the third in a trio of Sir Peter Wright’s exquisite ballets performed by the company this season, following the first revival in five years of the joyous classic Coppélia in October, and the world-famous production of The Nutcracker at the Birmingham Hippodrome.

Prince Siegfried is out hunting one night when he happens upon a flock of graceful swans. When one of them turns into a beautiful woman, the Prince is utterly smitten – but Odette explains that she has fallen under an evil spell cast by the evil Baron von Rothbart, which keeps her in swan form from dawn to dusk.

Can Siegfried’s love break the spell? Find out in this exquisite production of a true ballet classic.


We caught up with Momoko Hirata to discuss the show.


Momoko Hirata as Sugar Plum Fairy,
Birmingham Royal Ballet The Nutcracker
Photo Bill Cooper 

Can you tell us a bit about Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake and your role in the show?

Swan Lake is an iconic love story between Prince Siegfried and the Swan Queen Odette, performed in 4 acts. I play the role of Odette/ Odil so both the White Swan and the Black Swan.


What would you say is the hardest part and what do you enjoy the most?

The hardest part is definitely the technical challenge. It’s incredibly demanding as you play the two different sides, one as the White Swan and the other as the Black Swan. Showing two different characters in one performance is a challenge in itself and Act 3 is especially technically challenging as you have to famously complete thirty two fouettés. But getting the chance to play two different people is also what I enjoy the most.


How do you prepare for a big role like this?

We have a very intense rehearsal process but this part for me is familiar as I last played Odette/ Odil three years ago just before Covid hit so we had to finish early. It’s weird as my body still kind of remembers the steps and everything. I’m really excited to pick up where we left off and push myself even further than three years ago.


Can you tell us a bit about your dance background and history with Birmingham Royal Ballet?

I started dancing when I was five back in Japan which is where I’m from. I then came to England to study at the Royal Ballet School. It’s really funny as the first ballet performance that I saw in London was actually Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake, so for me Swan Lake is a very special ballet that I’ve also dreamt of being a part of. I studied at the Royal Ballet School for two years and then joined Birmingham Royal Ballet. Again, Swan Lake was one of the first ballet’s I performed with the company. I joined BRB back in 2003 and this is now my fifth Swan Lake with the company. I’ve pretty much done every role as I joined in the Corps de Ballet and this is my third time playing Odette and Odil.


What made you get into ballet?

I always wanted to wear a tutu! I have two older sisters who both started ballet before me and I used to go and see their school performances when I was really young and just fell in love with the costumes. So that’s how I got into ballet really – I just wanted to be a princess in a tutu.


Can you describe what a day looks like during the Swan Lake tour?

Once we go on tour it’s slightly different to what we do here in Birmingham during the rehearsal period. When we’re in the studio we have a class at 10:30am and then rehearse until 6:30pm five days a week so it’s pretty full on. Once we go on tour and are performing, principals do one or two shows a week, so we have a bit more free time but obviously the pressure is really high.


What are you hoping audiences will take away from Swan Lake?

I always enjoy performing Swan Lake on stage and the music is so special, so I hope that comes across to audiences. Everyone on stage is giving their heart out, not just the principles, but the Corps de Ballet too. You have sixteen swans dancing together all in line and I know from experience how hard it is to be in sync. I hope audiences appreciate that as well.


Why should people come and see Swan Lake?

Swan Lake is so iconic – everything that you think of when you think of ballet is in there – and there’s something for everyone, from the big numbers to the sets and costumes and beautiful music.



Momoko Hirata as Sugar Plum Fairy,
Birmingham Royal Ballet The Nutcracker
Photo Bill Cooper

Preview: Lucy Worsley at Newcastle's Tyne Theatre and Opera House




Historian Lucy Worsley shares stories about Agatha Christie at Newcastle's Tyne Theatre and Opera House

Thursday 28th September 2023


Following a sell-out tour in 2022, the Queen of History, Lucy Worsley, is heading back out on the road to share stories from the fascinating life of the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie.

For these unique, live illustrated talks, Lucy will present one most elusive and enigmatic figures of the twentieth century. Why did Agatha Christie spend her career pretending that she was 'just' an ordinary housewife, when she clearly wasn’t? Agatha went surfing in Hawaii, she loved fast cars, and she was intrigued by the new science of psychology, which helped her through devastating mental illness. So why - despite all the evidence to the contrary - did she present herself as a retiring Edwardian lady of leisure?

Sharing her research based on the writer’s personal letters and papers, Lucy will uncover the real Agatha Christie – the story of a person who, despite the obstacles of class and gender, became an astonishingly successful working woman.

This promises to be an entertaining and enlightening evening, emphasising not just Agatha’s unique gifts as a storyteller but her revolutionary qualities as a determined, successful, and thoroughly modern woman.

Lucy is Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces and a hugely popular writer, broadcaster and speaker. Her recent TV series include Blitz Spirit with Lucy Worsley (BBC One) and Lucy Worsley Investigates (BBC Two).  Lucy has an OBE for services to history, and her series Suffragettes with Lucy Worsley won the BAFTA.

'One brilliant woman writing about another: an irresistible combination.' Antonia Fraser

Theatre Director Jo Johnson commented: “We’re thrilled Lucy is stopping at our Theatre as part of her tour sharing stories about Agatha Christie. The show is set to be very interesting and engaging, and audiences will learn a lot from the night as well as enjoying it! We have a wonderful programme of in-conversations lined up for 2023 and we’re delighted to add Lucy to this fabulous selection of shows.”

Tickets are priced at £37 - £31 and can be bought from:

Preview: Bob Odenkirk at Newcastle Tyne Theatre


Bob Odenkirk heads to Newcastle to celebrate the release of his new book Comedy, Comedy, Comedy, Drama


Bob Odenkirk

Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House

Wednesday 26th April 2023


Emmy-winning writer and Golden Globe-nominated actor, comedian, and director Bob Odenkirk will take the stage at Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre and Opera House as he recounts the twists and turns of his comedy career live on stage.

Celebrating the paperback publication of his Sunday Times bestselling book Comedy, Comedy, Comedy, Drama, Bob will share the highs and lows of showbiz: from his work on infamous cult comedy Mr. Show, as a performer and writer on legendary series such as The Larry Sanders Show and Saturday Night Live, to becoming everyone's favourite lawyer in global hit TV series' Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul; plus what it's like to work with Steven Spielberg and Greta Gerwig, and re-re-reinvent himself as an action film ass-kicker at fifty in Nobody.

Bob Odenkirk's career is inexplicable. And yet he will try like hell to explicate it for you...

Featuring humorous tangents, wild characters, and Bob's trademark unflinching drive and humour, don’t miss the opportunity to spend an entertaining evening with the beloved star and comic maverick.

Theatre Director Jo Johnson commented: “We are delighted that Bob will join our programme of in-conversation events in 2023, which gets bigger year-by-year! It will be a great chance for audiences to learn more about Bob’s life within such a unique industry and get a special insight into some of his most loved roles.”

Tickets are priced at £36 and can be bought from:

Please note that this show is for audiences 16+.


Preview: Around the World in 80 Days at Darlington Hippodrome

Cast announced for UK tour of Tilted Wig’s Around the World in 80 Days

Around the World in 80 Days

Darlington Hippodrome

Tuesday 21 – Saturday 25th March 2023

Tilted Wig (Murder, Margaret, and Me; Lady Chatterley’s Lover; The Picture of Dorian Grey) are thrilled to announce the cast of their tour of Around the World in 80 Days, in collaboration with York Theatre Royal, adapted and directed by Juliet Forster (Cinderella, York Theatre Royal; The York Radio Mystery Plays, BBC Radio and York Theatre Royal). Circus meets theatre in Around the World in 80 Days, a brand-new adaptation of Jules Verne’s iconic story, set to tour the UK from February - July 2023.

Alex Phelps

Each member of the cast will multi-roll throughout the duration of the performance, whilst also playing one lead role. Alex Phelps (As You Like It, Shakespeare’s Globe/CBeebies; When Darkness Falls, Park Theatre/UK Tour; Hamlet, Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre) will be playing the role of the determined Ringmaster. 

Katriona Brown 

Taking on the role of the Acrobat, is actor and puppeteer Katriona Brown (There’s a Rang-Tan in My Bedroom and Other Stories, Little Angel Theatre; Chum-o-logues, Southwark Playhouse).

Genevieve Sabherwal
Genevieve Sabherwal (My Grandma’s a Walrus, Southwark Playhouse; Speed Dial, Pleasance; Spooky Ship, Bristol Old Vic) will be performing as the Trick Rider. Wilson Benedito (50 Ways to Kill Your Lover, Amazon; Alan Carr’s New Year Specstacular, Channel 4) provides comedic relief as The Clown. 

Eddie Mann
Rounding off the cast as the sharp-witted Knife Thrower is Eddie Mann (Rocketman, Paramount; Macbeth, Three Inch Fools; Back to The Future, Secret Cinema). 

Join a rag-tag band of travelling circus performers as they embark on their most daring feat yet: to recreate Phileas Fogg’s race around the world. (feel like this sentence is out of place?)

Katriona Brown, Eddie Mann, Alex Phelps, Genevieve Sabherwal

Julie Forster, creative Director of the York Theatre Royal and director of Around the World in 80 Days, comments I was amazed that we generally know more about Jules Verne’s fictional characters than we do about the real woman who set the record for circumnavigating the globe in 1889 (and did the journey in less time…) I knew I had to tell her story. I found that this approach allowed interesting themes to emerge around whose stories get told, whose stories dominate and who should stand aside to give space to the untold ones.

Jules Verne’s original characters are transformed in Forster’s adaptation, embracing different modes of transport and they journey across the globe. Audiences can join the Ringmaster, the Acrobat, the Clown, the Trick Rider, and the Knife Thrower on their frantic race to travel Around the World in 80 Days.

Tilted Wig Productions was formed in 2017 by Katherine Senior and Matthew Parish who have over twelve years of experience producing and touring plays throughout the UK, taking over 20 productions out on the road. Their shows now tour around some of the biggest theatres in the UK, yet their original ethos has always remained the same: whether Titled Wig is producing a classic play or a vibrant new adaptation, they will always aim to inspire a bright and innovative creative team to take their stories UK-wide.


21st – 25th March Darlington Hippodrome Parkgate, Darlington DL1 1RR

Family Ticket: £84 for family of 4 (max 2 adults) Group Offer: £25 full / £23 concession / £15 U16’s for groups of 10 or more.    

Lucky Hipp Tickets: For all performances of Around The World In 80 Days, take a lucky dip on where you sit with a Lucky Hipp ticket for just £15. These tickets are limited, so book as soon as you can. Book over the phone or counter, or if you are booking online, instead of choosing your seats from the plan, select the Lucky Hipp button. 72 hours before the performance, you'll be allocated a full-view seat in the stalls or dress circle. Simple as that! 

Post Show Talks: A post show talk/Q & A with the cast will take place after the shows on Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 March.


Preview: Pinocchio at Newcastle Theatre Royal


Joe Mcelderry returns to Newcastle Theatre Royal Panto as Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio


Newcastle Theatre Royal

Tuesday 28 November 2023 – Sunday 14 January 2024

North East singer-songwriter Joe McElderry is set to make a triumphant return to Newcastle Theatre Royal this year as Jiminy Cricket in a brand-new pantomime, following a magical season as The Faerie Godfather in Cinderella.

Having proved a firm favourite with audiences since joining the cast in 2021 for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Newcastle’s own Joe will team up with the previously announced comedy superstar Danny Adams as Pinocchio, returning favourites Clive Webb as toymaker Geppetto and Chris Hayward, turning once again to the side of good, as Dame Rita.

Since winning The X Factor in 2009, Joe McElderry has solidified his reputation as one of the country’s finest singer-songwriters, which has seen him enjoy an extensive and successful career spanning music, television and musical theatre.

Pinocchio, a brand-new pantomime, created especially for Newcastle Theatre Royal will be produced by Michael Harrison for the world’s biggest pantomime producer, Crossroads Pantomimes.

On the latest casting, Michael Harrison said: “I know how much audiences have enjoyed Joe’s brilliant vocals and the hilarious comedy moments between him and Danny, so I’m absolutely delighted that he’ll once again be joining Danny, Clive and Chris this Christmas in our new production of Pinocchio.”

Chief Executive of Newcastle Theatre Royal, Marianne Locatori added: “Joe has been a wonderful addition to an already spectacular cast and has dazzled not only with this stunning vocals but also his impeccable comic timing and huge sense of fun. Having proved to be a firm favourite with our audiences, we’re delighted that he will be joining us again in the brand-new pantomime adventure Pinocchio.”

On returning to the Newcastle Theatre Royal panto, Joe McElderry said: “I am so thrilled to be returning to Newcastle for the third year with Danny, Clive and Chris! As everyone knows, the North East is so special to me and I cannot wait to return to the most incredible theatre and wonderful team of people for another fantastic season with Pinocchio.”

With brand-new sets and costumes, we'd by lying if we didn't think this wasn't going to be our best panto yet!


Pinocchio plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tuesday 28 November 2023 – Sunday 14 January 2024. With over 50,000 tickets already booked, early booking is advised to guarantee the best seats. Tickets can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.


Preview: Kin at Newcastle Northern Stage

Gecko’s new production Kin is coming to Newcastle


Newcastle Northern Stage

Wednesday 1 - Saturday 4 March 2023

Photo: Richard Haughton
Award-winning internationally acclaimed physical theatre company Gecko goes live with their new touring production Kin, including four performances at Northern Stage in Newcastle from 1-4 March 2023.

Photo: Mark Sepple

Gecko’s new show presents a provocative story of desperation and compassion, inspired by the epic journey from Yemen to Palestine that Artistic Director Amit Lahav’s grandmother Leah made with her family in 1932 to escape persecution. At a time when the re-birth of community and acceptance seem vital to our survival, our international devising performers bring their own experiences of migration, racism, empathy, and home to this poetically intoxicating performance.

Photo: Mark Sepple
Gecko’s Artistic Director Amit Lahav said: “Every production that I create starts with a personal reflection combined with a current wider societal issue. In 2017, I visited my grandmother in Israel where we talked about her journey from Yemen to Palestine to escape persecution, as well as my family’s history more broadly. Kin was ultimately inspired by the desire to delve deeper into the complex mix of migration stories that make up who I am. Migration is a facet of human existence – we all have migration stories whether we’re aware of them or whether they’re more distant, and that excites me because we have the potential to encourage a profoundly positive, celebratory voyage towards empathy. We exist both where we’ve come from and where we’re going; this is what I wanted to explore through the creation of Kin.”

Photo: Mark Sepple
Commissioned by the National Theatre, Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre said: “I’ve been following Gecko’s work for a number of years and have a growing admiration for their dynamic and fearless approach to story in motion. Allied to this their commitment to internationalism, with completely integrated educational work, as well as their deeply embedded UK wide touring ethos, is hugely impressive. Their presence at the National Theatre is overdue, and we look forward very much to them being with us.”

Photo: John Ferguson

Gecko will be touring including Northern Stage in Newcastle from 1-4 March and the debut at the National Theatre in autumn 2023.

Show running time 90 minutes

Age guidance 14+


Created by: Amit Lahav

Collaborating with:

Designer: Rhys Jarman

Lighting: Chris Swain

Sound: Mark Melville

With original music by Dave Price

Devising Performers:  Madeleine Fairminer, Vanessa Guevara Flores, Saju Hari, Wai Shan Vivian Luk, Miguel Hernando Torres Umba, Mario Patrón, Ryen Perkins-Gangnes, Kenny Wing Tao Ho.

Producer: Rosalind Wynn

Assistant Director: Andres Velasquez

Company Stage Manager: Alyssa Watts

Technical Stage Manager: Jake Channon

Design Associate: Blythe Brett

Costume Supervisors: Gayle Playford, Becky-Dee Trevenen

Lighting Associate: Lucy Adams

Sound Engineer: Sharon Tsang

Photo: Mark Sepple

For Gecko:

Artistic Director: Amit Lahav

Executive Producer: Rosalind Wynn

Associate Director: Helen Baggett

Creative Engagement Producer: Paul Smethurst

Finance Manager: Andy Brumwell

Head of Operations & Development: Steve Allman

Producing Assistant: Malachy Luckie


Box Office: 0191 230 5151


Preview: Person Spec at Newcastle Alphabetti Theatre

Offering audiences full corporate control, Person Spec comes to Alphabetti Theatre

Person Spec 

Newcastle Alphabetti Theatre

Tuesday 28 February– Saturday 18 March 2023

This is not a normal theatre show. It is a job interview. And you are the panel.

Disguised as a corporate recruitment event, Person Spec is a participatory performance piece that invites audience members to be an active and essential part of a looming first job interview. Person Spec is created by Forest Sounds Theatre, a company that strives to push the boundaries between audience and actor, exploring how we treat others, and how we treat ourselves. Fostering the feeling of the unknown, this bold and experimental company will be returning to Alphabetti Theatre as part of the Newcastle venue’s Spring Season.

Our interviewee is Marion, an unemployed woman in her twenties whose second language is English. She is on the precipice of a whole new life and this interview is a huge opportunity for her. 

Structured around a series of interview tasks, Person Spec will enable the audience to facilitate and rate her performance. However, as the interview progresses it becomes apparent that these tasks aren’t intended merely for Marion, but are a part of something a lot more sinister. Whether the candidate succeeds or not is down to the audience and Zantion Recruitment has every faith in them.

After writer and founder of Forest Sounds Andy Owen Cook was made redundant twice in one year and graduated into a global recession, the idea of Person Spec was born. Forest Sounds Theatre was established in 2015 as a Resident Company at Theatre Deli in Sheffield and has since performed at places such as Wardrobe Theatre and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The production was curated by an interdisciplinary team of creatives from the UK, Spain, Portugal and China, with essential input from non-professional participants with experience of precarious labour. The structure and setup of the show reverse the traditional role of the audience, positioning them as the experts and authorities in the room. Person Spec reveals the troubling implications when audience participation is laid bare.

Writer Andy Owen Cook comments, I started writing this show in-between job applications after I was made redundant twice in one year. It’s about feeling redundant, and fighting against that. You have to. I come from Sheffield, which has suffered under the effects of austerity for the whole of my adult life, on top of multi-generational unemployment. You see the effects everywhere. Person Spec is about finding a way through all this. There has to be more to us than our LinkedIn profiles would have us believe. I hope so because my LinkedIn profile sucks.

Person Spec was curated with support from Alphabetti Theatre, New Diorama Theatre and Camden People’s Theatre, The Writing Squad, and Arts Council England.


Pay What You Feel (28th February – 4 th March)

£3-£15 (7th March – 18th March)

Running Time 75 mins

Age Restrictions 16+

Content Warnings This performance may contain themes and language that some audiences may find upsetting and distressing for more information please contact the theatre.

Access Captioned performance (Wednesday, 8th of March)

Audio Described performance (Wednesday, 15th of March)

Relaxed performances each Saturday matinee.

Cast& Creatives:

Writer Andy Owen Cook (he/him)

Director Alfie Heffer (he/him)

Producer Belisa Branças (she/her)

Performer Inés Collado (she/her)

Dramaturg Olga Hernandez (she/her)

Graphic Designer Jingyi Yu (she/her)

Sound Designer/ Composer Cameron Naylor (they/them)

Stage/Technical Manager Frances Allison (she/her)

Video Artist Peter Martin (he/him)

Video Editor Aaron Mears (they/them)

Digital Developer Michael Cook (they/them)


Preview: Demon Dentist at Newcastle Theatre Royal


Book Your Half Term Appointment With Fun!

Demon Dentist 

Newcastle Theatre Royal

Wednesday 22 – Saturday 25 February 2023.

David Walliam’s best-selling children’s book – Demon Dentist – will be brought to life at Newcastle Theatre Royal bringing half term fun to younger audiences.

Young fans will be very familiar with the popular story. Join Alfie and Gabz on this fabulous adventure, as they investigate the strange events happening in their home town! Children are leaving their teeth for the tooth fairy and waking up to find odd things under their pillows! 

Alfie and Gabz are determined to get to the bottom of the mystery - but no-one could have dreamt what they’ll discover, when they come face to face with the demon dentist herself in this hilarious and thrilling story!

Demon Dentist is from the West End producers of David Walliams' Gangsta Granny and Billionaire Boy, which were both nominated for an Olivier Award.

Photos: Mark Douet


Demon Dentist plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal Wednesday 22 - Saturday 25 February 2023 playing evenings at 6.30pm (Wed, Fri & Sat) and matinees 11am (Thu) and 2.30pm (Wed, Fri & Sat).Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 0191 232 7010.