Monday, 16 October 2017

Preview: Aladdin at Newcastle Peoples Theatre

People’s Theatre Panto!
Aladdin by Philip Meeks
Newcastle People's Theatre
Saturday 9th  – Sunday 17th December 2017
Join Aladdin on his adventures to find the magic lamp and defeat the wicked Abanazer. The Genie, Princess and Wishee Washee are there to help him along the way, of course! Brought to you by the same team behind last year’s sell-out hit Jack And The Beanstalk, this is a fun-packed Panto for the whole family!

L-R:  Genie (Leon Gill), Aladdin (Laurence Hussain),
Princess (Madeline Carter) and Wishee Washee (Joe Robson)
Photo: Paula Smart

DATE:                      Saturday 9 – Sunday 17 December
2.00pm (9th, 16th, 17th)
1.00pm & 6.00pm (10th)
No performance on Mon 11th

VENUE:                    People’s Theatre, Stephenson Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 5QF
TICKETS:                 £14 (Concessions £11.50)
BOX OFFICE:           0191 265 5020

Preview: Madagascar at Sunderland Empire

Madagascar – A Musical Adventure
Sunderland Empire 
Tuesday 28th August – Saturday 1st September 2018


Go Wild! as Selladoor Worldwide and Hartshorn - Hook announce that their brand-new stage adaptation Madagascar – A Musical Adventure is coming out of the zoo and hitting the Sunderland Empire stage from 28 August – 1 September 2018 as part of a new UK tour.

Join Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the hip hip Hippo and, of course, those hilarious, plotting penguins as they bound onto stage in the musical adventure of a lifetime.

Based on the smash DreamWorks animated motion picture, Madagascar – A Musical Adventure follows all of your favourite crack-a-lackin’ friends as they escape from their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien’s Madagascar.

Alex the lion is the king of the urban jungle, the main attraction at New York's Central Park Zoo. He and his best friends – Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo – have spent their whole lives in blissful captivity before an admiring public and with regular meals provided for them. Not content to leave well enough alone, Marty lets his curiosity get the better of him and makes his escape – with the help of some prodigious penguins – to explore the world.
This wacky adventure for the whole family is brought to life by Selladoor Family, the producers behind James And The Giant Peach, Seussical and The Owl And The Pussycat and Hartshorn – Hook, producers of the Olivier Award winning Rotterdam, Murder Ballad, Urinetown and American Idiot . Madagascar – A Musical Adventure will be directed by award winning Kirk Jameson who is thrilled to be working alongside Selladoor again having directed their 2013 revival of Seussical: The Musical at the Arts Theatre.

David Hutchinson, Executive Creative Producer of Selladoor says “One of our key principals at Selladoor is to aim to engage young people to come to the theatre and to help to encourage a whole new generation of theatre-goers, and Madagascar promises to do just that. We are delighted to be bringing these much-loved crazy characters to life on stage in an exciting caper for all of the family”

Filled with outlandish characters, adventure galore and an upbeat score, Madagascar will leave audiences with no choice but to “Move It, Move It!” 

On The Web:
Twitter @MadUKTour

Tickets available in person at the Box Office on High Street West, from the Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022* or online at*

*Calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your standard network charge. Booking fees may apply to telephone and online bookings

Preview: Wendy the Witch and the Long Lost Spell at South Shields Customs House


Wendy the Witch and the Long Lost Spell
South Shields Customs House
Monday 23rd - Wednesday 25th October 2017

Wendy the Witch is flying back into action to get little ones ready for Halloween.

The plucky witch’s tales have become a firm fixture in The Customs House calendar and she returns in Wendy the Witch and the Long Lost Spell this half term.

Sara-Jayne White as Wendy the Witch
Sara-Jayne White, from Newcastle, will perform at The Customs House for the first time as Wendy, while The Voice’s Melissa Cavanagh, from Sunderland, is joining the cast as her jealous sister, Winnie.  The pair have to work together when Wendy finds herself trapped in the family home as a result of The Goblin King’s curse. The only spell that can free her was lost many full moons ago. Can she find it and escape? Steven Stobbs, from Sunderland, will complete the line-up, playing Father Wizard.

Wayne Miller
Writer and director Wayne Miller said: “I love returning to Wendy the Witch, she’s such a fun character to bring to life. She’s not like a Disney princess, but she’s someone young girls and boys can look up to and learn from. This year, as always, Wendy is in a bit of a pickle. She’s been placed under a curse, but also has family issues to deal with. Adding a little sibling rivalry into the script seemed like something a lot of the audience might just be able to relate to.

“The cast features The Customs House newcomer Sara-Jayne White and two faces seen at The Customs House before, Melissa Cavanagh and Steven Stobbs. I’ve worked with Steven many times and he’s always a quality safe pair of hands, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Sara-Jayne and Melissa bring to this year’s Wendy the Witch.”

Sara graduated from The Manchester School of Acting in 2015 and recently appeared in 1867, by 27 Productions, at The Tyne Theatre and Opera House and the UK tour of water education project Super Splash Heroes for Gibber. She said: “It’s an honour to play Wendy this Halloween and be part of memories made with families and friends. It’s such an exciting time for children to get creative, use their imaginations and play dress up. I’m thrilled to be performing at The Customs House for the first time, under the direction of Wayne and with a stellar cast. I’m sure it won’t be the last!”

Melissa Cavanagh
Melissa, who made it through to the Battle Round of BBC1’s The Voice on Team Boy George last year, appeared in Zipp! One Hundred Musicals for Less than the Price of One, at The Customs House last month.  She said: “I am so excited to be performing at one of my favourite theatres again. I’m looking forward to letting out my mischievous side for the role of Winnie.”

Wendy the Witch and the Long Lost Spell runs from Monday, October 23, to Wednesday, October 25, with shows at 2pm. Tickets, priced £7.50, are available from the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or online at

Other half-term family shows include Dick and Dom Live! on Saturday, October 21, at 2pm and 5pm, and Harry Panto and the Chamber Pot of Secrets on Thursday, October 26, at 1.30pm and 6pm.

Preview: Man to Man at Newcastle Northern Stage

A modern German fairy tale
A Wales Millennium Centre production
Man to Man
Newcastle  Northern Stage                                  
Tuesday 17th - Wednesday 18th October 2017

Written by Manfred Karge
Translated by Alexandra Wood
Photo: Polly Thomas
Wales Millennium Centre's poignant and powerful production of Manfred Karge's Man to Man comes to  Newcastle’s Northern Stage (Oct 17 - 18 then embarks for New York to play at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (Nov 7 - 11). This will be Wales Millennium Centre’s first production in the USA. 
This acclaimed one woman play tells the life story of a woman called Ella Gericke, who lived with her husband Max until one day he died. Then the Nazis arrived…
Photo: Polly Thomas
Based on an incredible true story, we witness Ella's struggle and determination in a volatile 20th century Germany where she adopts the identity of her dead husband to survive.
Photo: Polly Thomas
Man to Man is a striking and spellbinding modern fairy tale inspired by the traditions of German storytelling. It gives audiences an incredible insight into what life was like in 20th century Germany, including the radical changes of the Nazi’s rise to power, the Cold War and the Berlin Wall coming down.
Photo: Polly Thomas
Renowned as one of the UK’s leading presenting houses, Wales Millennium Centre has recently embarked on producing work with the intention of taking the very best made in Wales to the world. As one of our first productions, Man to Man demonstrates the bold ambition of Wales Millennium Centre as a national home to the performing arts – to Inspire our Nation and Impress the World.
Photo: Polly Thomas
Man to Man opened to 5 star reviews in Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2015. Translated by award-winning playwright, Alexandra Wood, this new version unites the talents of a multi-Olivier and Tony award-winning creative team, led by directors Bruce Guthrie (Director of RENT the Musical & The Last Mermaid) and Scott Graham (Artistic Director of Frantic Assembly and Movement Director of Olivier-winning West End/Broadway production The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time). 
Photo: Polly Thomas

Bruce Guthrie, said: "Man to Man is a series of fragmented memories that our protagonist Ella is remembering and re-living. She is a working class character with no sense of self pity: a hero in many ways who finds herself having to make life and death choices on a daily basis.  I found that compelling when I first read the script. It is a familiar yet alien world. This version is about taking the audience on a sensory journey, evoking different reactions based on the series of potent memories explored.”
Maggie Bain, whose credits include Emma Rice's A Midsummer Night's Dream at Shakespeare's Globe, gives a tour de force performance in this beautiful, thought provoking production.
***** “The main triumph is Maggie Bain’s. She sculpts her voice and body to become a cast of dozens” The Guardian
***** "This stunning revival… is destined for classic status" The Times
***** “An impressive performance in an even more impressive visual production” The Stage
***** “A beautifully mesmerising 75 minutes, which will leave the audience surprised, touched and enriched.” British Theatre Guide
***** “This is political theatre par excellence” The Arts Desk

Performed by Maggie Bain
Directed by Bruce Guthrie & Scott Graham
Design by Richard Kent
Lighting Design by Rick Fisher
Sound Design by Mike Walker
Video Design by Andrzej Goulding
Music by Matthew Scott
Produced by Pádraig Cusack

‘Wales Millennium Centre’s licence to present Manfred Karge’s MAN TO MAN is granted by Rosica Colin Limited, London, by arrangement with henschel SCHAUSPIEL, Berlin.’ 
Age Guidance: 14+ (Contains strong language and adult themes)
Newcastle - Northern Stage                                             
Tuesday 17th - Wednesday 18th October 2017
Box Office:  - 0191 230 5151

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Preview: Big Foot at Hexham Queens Hall

A semi-autobiographical coming of age story about learning to take care of the ones we love

Black Theatre Live and Stratford Circus Arts Centre present

Big Foot

Hexham Queens Hall
Wednesday 18th October 2017

Written by Joseph Barnes-Phillips
Directed by Dominic Garfield

With grime music and Guyanese folk stories, Joseph Barnes-Phillip’s semi-autobiographical story is a comic, tragic and honest portrayal of becoming a man. The story follows Rayleigh as he negotiates the tensions of growing up and taking responsibility: to his pregnant girlfriend, to his sick mother, to his church, to the multi-cultural community he grew up in and somewhere in the mix to himself. The show has been created by HighRise Theatre to be the sixth touring production for consortium Black Theatre Live.

Photo: Camilla Greenwell
When the euphoric highs of teenage life in south London collide with his mum’s terminal illness, all Rayleigh wants to do it watch anime in his pants and eat indomie. Love, life and masculinity meet head-on as Rayleigh tries to find his feet, torn between the new girl in his life and being there for his mum, while trying not to make the same mistakes as his dad.

Photo: Camilla Greenwell
Big Foot follows Black Theatre Live’s all-black Hamlet, new play She Called Me Mother, one-woman show The Diary of a Hounslow Girl, Inua Ellam’s An Evening with an Immigrant and Macbeth. The show will tour the consortium’s eight venues across England, which have come together to commission and showcase excellent theatre of BAME companies. HighRise’s show was selected from a range of productions by emerging artists put forward by the venues: Big Foot was championed by Stratford Circus Arts Centre.

HighRise Theatre is a collective of diverse artists with family roots that span five continents, resulting in an eclectic and dynamic approach when telling stories, keeping an ear to the street and the communities they work in. Their work has included collaborations with Arts Council England, CHICKENSHED, London Bubble, Tangled Feet, Oval House, The Yard, artsdepot, CONEY, MUJU, Fun Palaces, Croydon Council, BAC and many more. They will appear at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with The Concrete Jungle Book.

Photo: Camilla Greenwell
Black Theatre Live is a pioneering national consortium of eight regional theatres led by Tara Arts, committed to effecting change for BAME touring theatre through a sustainable three­year programme of national touring, structural support and audience development. Black Theatre Live is a partnership of Tara Arts, Derby Theatre, Queen’s Hall Arts (Hexham), the Lighthouse (Poole), Theatre Royal Bury St. Edmunds, Theatre Royal Margate, Stratford Circus Arts Centre (London) and Key Theatre (Peterborough). Black Theatre Live works with emerging and established BAME companies across England to commission and tour high quality productions to the consortia theatres. The structured audience development and community engagement programmes will include live digital streaming and cinema relay.

Photo: Camilla Greenwell
Stratford Circus Arts Centre provides world-class, accessible creative experiences and performances on the doorstep of people in Newham and East London, driven by the belief that access to art brings joy, empowers people, and draws them together.Stratford Circus Arts Centre is a vibrant place to create and experience art through world-class theatre, dance, music and circus and visual exhibitions, with work for families and young people.Its extensive creative learning programme works with local schools and community organisations to introduce local people to artistic experiences through workshops and bespoke creative projects.A modern and versatile building, it receives more than 125,000 visits a year and is a key resource for the local community. Stratford Circus Arts Centre is a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England and a registered charity.

@StratfordCircus |
@HighRise_UK |

Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham
Beaumont Street, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 3LS
Box Office: 01434 652477 |

Preview: Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir at Newcastle Blackfriars Ouseburn Cinema

New York’s Reverend Billy returns to the UK in October for a radical mix of passion and politics
Trump Depression Hotline tour in

Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir
Newcastle Blackfriars Ouseburn Cinema
Sunday 22nd October 2017

jah!  Your saviour is at hand. If you’re concerned about a wife with global advertising, multinational control, climate change, the threat of nuclear war, supermarket domination, and all the constant controversy caused by the US President’s outpourings, this is for you.
If you’re not, this is REALLY for you!

Award-winning wild anti-consumerist gospel shouters and Earth-loving urban activists Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir return to the UK for a whistlestop tour of the country and call of at The Blackfriars Ouseburn Cinema Newcastle on Sunday 22nd October. They’ll be spreading the word of Earthelujah and encouraging us all to join the struggle to avert the threatened Shopacolypse. Expect humour, great music and an unshakeable belief.

Church of Stop Shopping is a New York based secular political religion founded in 1999. Their performances in concert halls (and the Tesco cash tills exorcisms) are directed by Savitri D, who co-founded the ‘church’ with Talen in the months after 9/11.

Since Trump, the Frankenstein of shopping culture, won - or stole - the election, the church has been a repository of community anguish. The choir has opened for Neil Young, been produced by Laurie Anderson, and hosted a Black Lives Matter benefit with Joan Baez as well as hosting their own parades, boycotts, and protests – all whilst singing multiple harmonies. To date they have performed in, and Billy has exorcised cash registers in, over a dozen countries and four continents.

‘Rev and his choir enrapture large audiences with sermons to which Jesus himself would have said Amen’ Kurt Vonnegut

The Rev has an advice column in a New York newspaper called ‘Trump Depression Hotline’ – and this effort to bring mindfulness and hilarity to these dark times became the name of the UK tour. ‘We gotta love everybody and show them we care ‘til they can’t Trump anymore’ he said.

‘Talen’s message resonates with the words W. H. Auden wrote on the eve of World War II… “We must love one another or die.” ‘ Village Voice

Savitri D and Reverend Billy have taken to spending time in the public garden of Trump Tower, ‘We walk past the submachine guns and dogs, the body armour and the golden name of the white supremacist president that hovers in space above the door’ said Rev Billy ‘We travel up gold-plated escalators to legally protected privately owned public space then we write together for 45 minutes. At the end we stand with our writing and recite or shout or sing our words at the 700 foot tall gold-tinted monstrosity’ added Savitri D.

‘the Church’s honesty, passion and lack of cynicism is inspiring’ The Guardian

Reverend Billy Talen is an actor, performance artist and activist who began his experimental preaching in Times Square in 1994. Soon singers were accompanying his ‘retail Interventions’ inside chain stores, principal targets being Disney, GAP, Nike, and Starbucks. He is legally banned from every branch of Starbucks in the USA and the coffee giant has issued a memo to its managers ‘What should I do if Reverend Billy is in my store?’

The Church of Stop Shopping hold ‘services’ wherever they can, in theatres, churches, community centres, forests, parking lots, shopping malls, and perhaps most importantly, inside stores, as close to the cash register as they can get, within spitting distance of the point of purchase. Their feature film ‘What Would Jesus Buy’ was produced by Morgan Spurlock and their earlier film Preacher With an Unknown God won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.

Sun 22 October 7.30pm
Reverend Billy & the Stop Shopping Choir Trump Depression Hotline Tour
New York’s award-winning wild anti-consumerist gospel shouters and Earth-loving urban environmental activists come to Newcastle to spread their word. Expect humour, great music and an unshakeable belief.
The Blackfriars Ouseburn Cinema @ St Vincent de Paul Society,
Newcastle, NE1 2TQ     
£9.50, £7, £4.50 concessions, under 12’s free