Friday, 18 August 2017

Preview: A Song for Ella Grey at Newcastle Northern Stage

Premiere of stage adaptation of David Almond’s award-winning novel

A Song for Ella Grey
Newcastle Northern Stage
Tuesday 5th – Saturday 16th September 2017

A brand new production of David Almond’s award-winning young adult novel A Song for Ella Grey will premiere at Northern Stage in Newcastle (5 – 16 September). Adapted for the stage by David Almond himself and directed by Northern Stage Artistic Director Lorne Campbell, the creative team will make the show with the help of young people from across the North East.

Creative team with young people at Ella Grey workshop
David Almond's story sets the Orpheus myth in teenage Tyneside, travelling from the beaches of Bamburgh to the bridges of Ouseburn. Hailed as one of the most important writers for this generation of young people, the Tyneside author is the winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award, Whitbread Book Award, Carnegie Medal and, most recently, the Guardian children’s fiction prize. Previous stage adaptations include Skellig at Sage Gateshead and Miracle! An Opera of Two Halves at Sunderland Minster.

David explains, “I'm so happy that this story is coming to life again at Northern Stage. It's based on an ancient tale but it's also very new. I've set it on Tyneside, the place where I live, the place of my birth. It’s about ordinary Tyneside teenagers with all their madness, joys and yearnings. At its heart is a simple tale of a girl and a boy falling in love. It asks the question, Can Love be stronger than Death?

Northern Stage's Young Company - Photo:
Von Fox Promotions
“Somehow we all know something about the tale of Orpheus, the wonderful musician who travels to the Underworld to bring back his lost love. We all know the simple scary line, ‘Don't look back! Don't look back!’ The story was often rather weird to write - sometimes I felt as if Orpheus had visited me, that his spirit was flowing through me; that his voice was singing underneath my words...”

Movement Director Martin Hylton - Photo Mark Savage
The creative team includes set and costume designer Jen McGinley – winner of the 2015 Linbury Prize; Movement Director Martin Hylton; film maker Kris Deedigan who is working with Northern Stage Young Company members to create film and projections for the production; and sound designer/composer Mariam Rezaei. Mariam works predominantly with turntables, piano, vocals and electronics and she is creating and recording an immersive soundscape for A Song for Ella Grey in collaboration with Young Company members aged 16-21.

David Almond joins vocal session with
Amy Cameron- Photo Mark Savage
Amy Cameron will play the lead role of Claire. Most recently seen at Northern Stage in the critically acclaimed Get Carter as Jack’s niece Doreen, Amy is originally from Sunderland and has appeared in ITV’s Vera alongside Brenda Blethyn as well as stage roles including Helene in A Doll’s House (Royal Exchange) and Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (HallĂ©).

David Almond in vocal session with
Mariam Rezaiel- Photo Mark Savage
Director Lorne Campbell says, “For me, David’s writing is everything fiction should be, magical and fantastical without ever letting go of an unvarnished and uncompromising reality. A Song for Ella Grey is an incredible book about growing up, it contains all of the passion and intensity of being a teenager while dealing with profound honesty and courage with death, grief and the reality of surviving tragedy. The chance to not only make this incredible book into a play but to do so working with the brilliant creativity of our Young Company is an incredible pleasure and privilege.”

A Song for Ella Grey opens in Newcastle in September 2017. Tickets start from £10 - for more information or to book tickets visit  or call 0191 230 5151.

Follow the #EllaGrey summer adventure on Instagram as our Young Company create the show @NSYoungCompany 
Running time: 1 hour 30 mins (no interval)
Recommended Age: 14+ (some strong language)
Post-show talk: Wednesday 13 September with David Almond and Lorne Campbell

Please note: a section of this play will be performed in complete darkness

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