Saturday, 1 October 2016

Preview: Broken Biscuits at Newcastle Live Theatre

Live Theatre dishes up its next tasty treat with Broken Biscuits

Broken Biscuits by Tom Wells
Newcastle Live Theatre
Wednesday 5th to
Saturday 22nd October 2016
Newcastle’s Live Theatre is marking the world premiere of Broken Biscuits by Tom Wells (Jumpers for Goalposts – JoWhereToGo review: LINK), its latest collaboration with London based Paines Plough, with a series of music themed events each Saturday during October. 

The play will introduce audiences to Megan, Holly and Ben who are definitely not the cool kids.  Holed up in Megan’s garden shed, the three old friends try to change their fortunes by forming a band in a hilarious and heart-warming story with songs.

“The point is: we’re losers. Nobodies. Carry on like this, we’re losers forever. And we don’t have to be. Fresh start, two months to completely one hundred per cent reinvent ourselves. And I know exactly how we can do that.”

Megan, Holly and Ben are definitely not the cool kids. But Megan has a plan. One long summer holiday to change their lives. One sure path to coolness. One amazing transformation, through the power of song.

Holed up in Megan’s garden shed, three friends try to change their fortunes in a beautiful, heart-warming, laugh-out- loud, coming-of- age story for our times. Rock on.

Playwright Tom Wells said: “Broken Biscuits is a play about three teenagers starting a band - I wanted to write about the summer you finish your GCSEs, being sixteen, full of big hopes and big worries, figuring things out a bit and trying new stuff. And I wanted to have a go at writing some lyrics, in the DIY spirit of a teenage band, fill the play with music and see what happened. I’m thrilled that Broken Biscuits is being brought to the stage by Live Theatre and Paines Plough and we’ve been really lucky to cast three soulful young actors with funny bones as Megan, Holly and Ben.”

Tom Wells, James Grieve, Grace Hogg-Robinson (Holly),
Andrew Reed (Ben) and Faye Christall (Megan).
Photo: Matt Humphrey
Co-Artistic Directors of Paines Plough, James Grieve and George Perrin, said: “Tom first joined Paines Plough as part of our Future Perfect group for emerging playwrights in 2009. We have always adored his writing and following the huge success of Jumpers for Goalposts we are honoured to be co-producing Broken Biscuits with Live Theatre Newcastle. It’s a gorgeous, hilarious, heart-squeezing play that shows why Tom is one of our best loved modern writers. Featuring original songs from Matthew Robins and a supremely talented cast of future stars, we can’t wait to share it with audiences in Newcastle and on tour across the UK.”

Literary Manager at Live Theatre, Gez Casey, said: “We are delighted to be working once again with partners Paines Plough on the world premiere of a new Tom Wells play. Broken Biscuits is a joyous celebration of teenage friendship, a journey of individual and collective discovery through music. The play is shot through with whip-smart dialogue, vibrant and engaging characters and an infectious generosity of spirit.” 

On Saturday 8th October at 9.15pm Pity Me based four-piece pop-punk band Martha with be headlining their first gig at Live Theatre in a post-show gig in the venue’s intimate Studio Theatre.  Described as “melodic, soul-influences punk rock music with strength and humour” they will be supported by Street Party in Soho, from North Shields, whose music is “liquid candy shop afro pop”.

Writer Tom Wells took inspiration for the show’s title from Mis-Shapes, one of the tracks on Pulp’s classic album Different Class.  On Saturday 15th October at 5.30pm Mr Drayton will be at Live Theatre to play the album in full in this free event as he marks the return of Mr Drayton’s Record Player.

Taking place in the relaxed surrounding of Live Theatre’s beautiful Undercroft the idea is simple.  A classic album, on vinyl, played in full with no interruption, just as nature intended.  The record is accompanied with a slide show celebrating the music.  Afterwards music lovers are invited to pit their music knowledge for cheap prizes and ever cheaper laughs.

Finally, on Saturday 22nd October at 4pm anyone aged between 13 and 19 years that have been inspired by Broken Biscuits and are interested in finding out more about writing lyrics or setting words to music are being invited to join singer/songwriter Natasha Haws for a free song writing workshop.  No experience required.

For anyone who wants to know more about how the show was put together there will be a chance to meet the cast and creative team on Saturday 8th  October at 3.45pm and put questions to the team.  The show stars Faye Christall as Megan, Grace Hogg-Robinson as Holly and Andrew Reed as Ben.

Tom Wells, Faye Christall (Megan), Grace Hogg-Robinson (Holly),
Andrew Reed (Ben) and James Grieve.
Photo: Matt Humphrey

Faye Christall plays Megan. Faye is making her debut with Paines Plough and trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Her theatre credits include Gone Viral (St James Theatre) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Edinburgh Fringe). Faye’s film credits include Cute Little Buggers 3D and Awake and is also part of the Cirque du Soleil Company.

Grace Hogg-Robinson plays Holly. Broken Biscuits marks Grace’s stage debut, her previous credits on television include the regular role of Beth Kennedy in The Coroner: Series 1 & 2 (BBC1 & BBC Worldwide) as well as appearances in Casualty (BBC1), Camping (Sky Atlantic), Diary of a Snob (Nickelodeon), Doctors (BBC1) and Suspects (Channel 5). Grace’s film credits include Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Bros.), Birdhouse (NFTS), Candy Floss (HAUS Pictures) & The Nest (Beyond Fiction).

Andrew Reed plays Ben. Andrew was born in South Tyneside, he trained with Project A at the Theatre Royal Newcastle and was a member of the Customs House Youth Theatre. Andrew’s previous stage credits include The Fifteen Streets, Drama Baby and Scrapbook, Customs House South Shields, The Machines, Takeaway and 13 (all Theatre Royal Studio Newcastle and on tour).

Tom Wells is a writer from Kilnsea, East Yorkshire. His plays include Folk (UK Tour, 2016), Cinderella (Lyric Hammersmith, 2015/16), Symphony (Edinburgh Festival, UK Tour, Soho Theatre 2013/14), Jumpers for Goalposts (Bush Theatre and UK Tour, 2013/14), Jack and the Beanstalk (Lyric Hammersmith, 2013/14), Cosmic (East Yorkshire Tour, 2013),  Jonsey (Lyric Hammersmith, Greenwich Playhouse, Watford Palace Theatre, National Theatre Inside Out, BBC Radio 4, 2012), The Kitchen Sink (Bush Theatre, 2011, winner of the Most Promising Playwright - Critics Circle, 2011 and the 2012 George Devine Award), Fossils (Bush Theatre, 2011), Spacewang (Hull Truck Theatre, 2011), Me, As A Penguin (West Yorkshire Playhouse, 2009 and Arcola Theatre / UK Tour, 2010), Yeti (Bush Theatre, 2010), About A Goth (Paines Plough / Oran Mor, 2009) and Notes For First Time Astronauts (Paines Plough LATER at Soho Theatre, 2009). Ben & Lump, which Tom wrote as part of the Coming Up season was broadcast on Channel 4 in spring of 2012. In 2009 Tom was a member of Paines Plough / Channel 4’s Future Perfect scheme and in 2012 he was Associate Playwright at Hull Truck. Tom is currently under commission to The Drum Plymouth, Northern Broadsides, The Royal Court and the National Theatre. He is developing a new idea for Leftbank Pictures.

Broken Biscuits is part of Paines Plough’s Programme 2016 which has also included Sabrina Mahfouz’s With A Little Bit of Luck, Come To Where I’m From: London, the return of Roundabout to Summerhall and subsequent UK tour and Duncan Macmillan’s Every Brilliant Thing which will embark upon a UK tour in September.

For Paines Plough James Grieve has directed Happiness by Nick Payne (BBC Radio 3), The Angry Brigade by James Graham, An Intervention and Love, Love, Love by Mike Bartlett, Jumpers for Goalposts by Tom Wells, Hopelessly Devoted and Wasted by Kate Tempest, The Sound of Heavy Rain by Penelope Skinner, You Cannot Go Forward From Where You Are Right Now by David Watson, Tiny Volcanoes by Laurence Wilson and Fly Me To The Moon by Marie Jones.

James was formerly founder and Joint Artistic Director of nabokov with George, and Associate Director at the Bush Theatre.

Further directing credits include TRANSLATIONS (Sheffield Theatres /
ETT / The Rose, Kingston) A NOBODY (66 BOOKS) by Laura Dockrill, THE WHISKY TASTER by James Graham, ST PETERSBURG by Declan Feenan and PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY by Lucy Kirkwood (The Bush); ARTEFACTS by Mike Bartlett (nabokov/The Bush, National Tour & Off-Broadway); KITCHEN, BEDTIME FOR BASTARDS and NIKOLINA by Van Badham, OLD STREET by Patrick Marber and WHEN CHERYL WAS BRASSIC by Leo Richardson (nabokov); The List by David Eldridge (Arcola).

In 2016 he directs a new production of LES MISERABLES for Wermland Opera in
Karlstad, Sweden.

James has also directed comedians and poets including Isy Suttie, Simon Brodkin (Lee Nelson), Luke Wright, Martin Figura and Aisle16.

He trained as assistant and associate director to Josie Rourke, as staff director to Howard Davies at The National Theatre, and on the National Theatre Studio Director’s Course.
Writer: Tom Wells
Songs by: Matthew Robins
Direction: James Grieve
Design: Lily Arnold
Lighting: Joshua Pharo
Sound: Dominic Kennedy
On The Web:

Broken Biscuits is a Paines Plough and Live Theatre production appearing from Wednesday 5 to Saturday 22 October 2016. Tickets for Broken Biscuits are £22-£10, over 60s concession £16-£12, other concessions £15-£6. Tickets for Broken Biscuits and associated events can be booked by visiting or by contacting the box office on (0191) 232 1232.
Suitable for ages 12+
Other Events
SATURDAY 8 OCTOBER, 9.15PM (after the show) Martha + Support by Street Party in Soho
Martha is a four-piece pop-punk band from Pity Me in Durham who play “melodic, soul-influence punk rock music with strength and humour”. Headlining their first gig at Live Theatre they are supported by Street Party in Soho from North Shields whose music is “Liquid Candy Shop Afro-Pop”.
DATE: Sat 8 Oct, 9.15pm
LOCATION: Studio Theatre
DURATION: Approx. 1hr 15mins
TICKETS: Add just £2 to the price of your Broken Biscuits ticket and see the gig. Tickets available via the box office. Gig only tickets £5.

SATURDAY 15 OCTOBER, 5.30PM Mr Drayton’s Record Player
Proud to return to Live Theatre with Pulp’s classic album Different Class featuring Mis-Shapes, the song which gave Broken Biscuits its name. The idea is simple. A classic album, on vinyl, played in full with no interruption, just as nature intended. The record is accompanied with a slide show celebrating the music; afterwards pit your music knowledge for cheap prizes and even cheaper laughs.
DATE: Sat 15 Oct, 5.30pm
LOCATION: Undercroft
TICKETS: Free, booking essential

4PM Song Writing Workshop
13 to 19 years of age and interested in finding out more about writing lyrics or setting words to music? Then this event is for you. Join Natasha Haws as she shares with you the art of song writing. No experience needed.

DATE: Sat 22 Oct,
LOCATION: Live Tales, behind Live Theatre
SUITABILITY: 13 to 19 year olds
TICKETS: Free, booking essential.  Limited numbers available.

Tour dates:

The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth 25 – 29 October Box Office: 01752 627 222

Hull Truck Theatre 1 – 5 November Box Office: 01482 323 638

McCarthy Studio, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
8 – 13 November Box Office: 01723 370 541
Crucible Studio, Sheffield 15 – 19 November Box Office: 0114 249 6000

The Tobacco Factory, Bristol 25 – 26 November Box Office: 0117 902 0344

The Door, Birmingham Rep 29 November – 3 December Box Office: 0121 236 4455

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