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Preview: Limelight by Janet Plater - On tour

 New play invites audiences to explore life backstage at Newcastle Theatre Royal in 1854

CaroleW Productions, with support from Newcastle Theatre Royal, presents

Limelight by Janet Plater

The tour will launch in Newcastle Theatre Royal’s newly refurbished Studio Theatre, Tuesday 8 April to Saturday 13 April 2024, before touring the North East & Cumbria until Saturday 4 May 2024

Direction Christina Berriman Dawson

Composer Wilf Stone

Design Consultant Lee Ward

Audiences are being invited to travel back to 1854 Newcastle and meet actresses Emily and Fanny as they excitedly await the arrival of Julia St George, a real-life star of the Victorian stage, in Limelight a funny, heart-warming new play by Janet Plater (Haddock & Chips). 

Based on the career of Julia St George, Limelight explores life backstage - full of dreams, aspirations and the odd secret. In October 1854, at the height of her fame, Julia returned to her hometown to make a star guest appearance at Newcastle Theatre Royal on Grey Street. Performed with songs from the era and original music by Wilf Stone, the play, directed by Christina Berriman Dawson, is set against a dramatic night in the city's history. 

Presented by CaroleW Productions, with support from Newcastle Theatre Royal, the tour will launch in the newly refurbished Studio Theatre at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tuesday 8 April to Saturday 13 April, before touring the North East and Cumbria until Saturday 4 May. 

The real Julia St George. 

Carole Wears of CaroleW Productions said: “Brimming with humour and humanity, Limelight promises to capture the hearts and minds of audiences, transporting them to the Victorian era for a night of feel-good entertainment. 

Stopping off at fourteen venues across the North East & Cumbria, Limelight is a play about friendship, camaraderie and ultimately, the price of fame.

“Both moving and inspiring, this play has a big heart and features Janet Plater's shrewd eye for human character and trade mark empathy for her subjects. She has carefully crafted characters who call the stage their own but whose hopes, dreams and aspirations are played out backstage in their dressing room set against the backdrop of dramatic real events that took place in Newcastle during this time."

Limelight will open at Newcastle Theatre Royal and tour to Gala Durham; Blyth and Cramlington Libraries; Alnwick Playhouse; Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham; Newton & Bywell Village Hall; Middleton & Todridge Village Hall; Arts Centre Washington; Heslington & Brigsteer Village Hall; The Exchange 1856; Arnside Educational Institute; Trimdon Grange Community Association; Hamsteels Community Centre; Coundon & Leeholme Village Hall; St John’s Hall, Meadowfield and Saltburn Community Theatre before heading to Gosforth Civic Theatre on Saturday 4 May for two performances. 

Writer Janet Plater explains: "I first came across Julia St George in a book I was reading (about George Stephenson - whom I have also written a play about) and was fascinated to learn that this young woman, who was born on Broad Chare on Newcastle's quayside, had become such a big star. 

After working at Newcastle Theatre Royal, she left for London, performing at Sadlers Wells and all over the country. She was incredibly famous and would occasionally return to Newcastle for a guest appearance, which I thought was a brilliant starting point for a story." 

Newcastle Theatre Royal’s Chief Executive, Marianne Locatori said: “We're excited to support CaroleW Productions in bringing the story of Limelight to life on our Studio stage. We're looking forward to working together and are delighted to be launching the tour here at Newcastle Theatre Royal, where the real Julia St George performed many years ago."

Limelight will tour the North East & Cumbria from Tuesday 8 April to Saturday 4 May 2024. 

For more details and to book tickets, visit

Suitability: 12+ 

Duration: Approx. 2 hours, including interval

Limelight Tour Dates & Venues

Tuesday 9 & Friday 12 April, 7pm - Newcastle Theatre Royal Studio

Wednesday 10, Thursday 11 & Saturday 13 April, 1pm & 7pm - Newcastle Theatre Royal Studio

Tuesday 16 April, 7.30pm - Gala Durham

Wednesday 17 April, 6pm - Blyth Library

Thursday 18 April, 7.30pm - Middleton & Todridge Village Hall *

Friday 19 April, 7.30pm - Newton & Bywell Village Hall *

Saturday 20 April, 7.30pm - Arnside Educational Institute *

Sunday 21 April, 7.30pm - Helsington & Brigsteer Village Hall *

Tuesday 23 April, 6.30pm - Cramlington Library

Wednesday 24 April, 7.30pm - Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham

Thursday 25 April 7.30pm - Arts Centre Washington

Friday 26 April, 7.30pm - Hamsteels Community Centre

Saturday 27 April 7.30pm - Saltburn Community Theatre

Sunday 28 April 3pm - St John's Hall, Meadowfield

Tuesday 30 April, 7.30pm - Coundon & Leeholme Community Centre

Wednesday 1 May 1pm & 7.30pm - North Shields The Exchange 1856

Thursday 2 May 7.30pm - Alnwick Playhouse

Friday 3 May 7.30pm - Trimdon Grange Community Centre

Saturday 4 May 1pm & 7pm - Gosforth Civic Theatre

* These dates are part of the Highlights Rural Touring Scheme.

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