Sunday, 4 June 2017

Preview: Autumn 2017 at Northern Stage

Autumn 2017 at Northern Stage

Autumn at Northern Stage features ambitious new productions made in Newcastle alongside new shows from some of the UK’s most exciting and innovative theatre companies as well as international work which will tour venues in the North of England thanks to a unique new partnership. Plus comedy, dance, shows for families and young people and an eclectic programme in the intimate Stage 3 performance space.

A Song for Ella Grey Photo: Mark Savage
A brand new production of David Almond’s award-winning young adult novel A Song for Ella Grey will premiere in Newcastle (5 – 16 Sept). Adapted for the stage by the author and directed by Northern Stage Artistic Director Lorne Campbell, more than 100 young people from across the North East will work with the creative team to create the show. Lorne 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 deal-ing 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.”

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, Tyneside author David Almond is the winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award, Whitbread Book Award, Newbery 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. The creative team also includes choreographer Martin Hylton (James & the Giant Peach, Northern Stage) and composer Mariam Rezaei (Beats North, Curious Monkey). Cast to be announced.

Based on a true story, The Suitcase (14-16 Sept) from The Market Theatre, Johannesburg explores issues of identity, migration, exile and celebration of the human spirit. Nominated in the New Director category in the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards for The Rosalie van der Gucht Prize, Director James Ngcobo saw enormous theatrical potential in this poignant and emotive story and so adapted it for the stage from a short story by Es’kia Mphahlele. Featuring live music composed and written by Hugh Masekela, it’s a story never more relevant to our time. The project was inspired by Hull Truck Theatre’s visit to South Africa in 2015 as part of a group of delegates to promote artistic exchange between the North East of England and the Eastern Cape of South Africa, funded by the Swallows Foundation. The Suitcase brings together a unique partnership of venues enabling international work to be performed on five northern stages.

The show will have its UK premiere at Hull Truck Theatre in September 2017 as part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017’s Freedom season before touring to Newcastle, Derby, Lancaster and Liverpool.

From the award-winning team who made Rapunzel and Snow White, balletLORENT presents the world premiere of Rumpelstiltskin (24-28 Oct), retold by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and Director Liv Lorent. With a score by Doctor Who composer Murray Gold, costumes designed by Michele Clapton (Game of Thrones), and narration by actor Ben Crompton (Game of Thrones), this is fairytale dance theatre for all the family. Featuring a local community cast of local children aged 5-9 and over 60s alongside professional danc-ers, Rumpelstiltskin premieres in Newcastle before a national tour including dates at Sadler’s Wells, Hull Truck Theatre, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Oxford Playhouse, The Lowry and Warwick Arts Centre.

Man to Man Photo: Polly Thomas
Wales Millennium Centre's poignant and powerful production of Manfred Karge's Man to Man (17-18 Oct) opens in Cardiff in September before touring the UK and US. After 5 star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2015 this new tour unites a multi-Olivier and Tony award-winning creative team led by directors Bruce Guthrie (Director of RENT the Musical) and Scott Graham (Artistic Director of Frantic Assembly and Movement Director of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time). Translated by award-winning playwright, Alexandra Wood and starring Maggie Bain, whose recent credits include Emma Rice's A Midsummer Night's Dream at Shakespeare's Globe.

The Wipers Times Photo: Alastair Muir
Following a sold-out UK tour in 2016 and a critically acclaimed hit run in the West End, The Wipers Times (2-7 Oct) comes to Newcastle as part of a national tour this autumn. Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s stage adaptation of their award-winning BBC film tells the true and extraordinary story of the satirical newspaper created in the mud and mayhem of the Somme, interspersed with comic sketches and spoofs from the vivid imagination of those on the front line.

Returning to his native North East after directing the world premiere of Ravi Shankar’s only opera, Sukanya at the Royal Opera House, Suba Das directs Pink Sari Revolution (31 Oct – 4 Nov) - a Curve, Belgrade Theatre Coventry and West Yorkshire Playhouse co-production in association with English Touring Theatre. Fusing drama, music and movement, Pink Sari Revolution reveals the real cost of making a stand in this true story based on the book by internationally renowned journalist Amana Fontanella Khan about her meetings with Sampat Pal.

Visiting companies also include Fuel Theatre who return to Newcastle to present a brand new show from Gyre and Gimble (War Horse, National Theatre) written by Carl Grose (Dead Dog in a Suitcase, Kneehigh). A cautionary tale for adults and older children, families and schools The Hartlepool Monkey (10-14 Oct) is an adventurous story with sea shanties and puppetry based on the 200 year old legend.

Kate O’Donnell
Challenging the idea that “genitals equal gender” award-winning transgender artist Kate O’Donnell literally bares all in You’ve Changed (31 Oct – 1 Nov). Kate recently stole the show as Feste in Royal Exchange Theatre’s Twelfth Night and will premiere this follow up to her hit show Big Girl’s Blouse as part of the Northern Stage at Summerhall programme at the Edinburgh Fringe.

The Vaudevillians
Soho Theatre and Tim Whitehead present The Vaudevillians (7 Nov) - RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon’s bawdy, rowdy musical comedy co-starring composer and musician Major Scales.

Above and Beyond
For families, Bare Toed Dance Company’s aerial dance show Above and Beyond (26-27 Oct) is especially suit-able for children with special educational needs or disabilities. For children aged 2+ iPet (23 Oct) is a hilarious performance with movement, magic and music from BonteHond in association with TakeOff Festival and Theatre Hullabaloo; every first Saturday of the month, Chris Bostock, The Storyteller, captivates children aged 4-8; Half Moon presents Fairytales Gone Bad (24 Oct) for children aged 3+; while for families with older children aged 12+ What Once Was Ours (27 Oct) explores how politics and national values impact on the complex lives of one family. 
Plus, Christmas shows Alice in Wonderland (25 Nov – 6 Jan 2018) - a big, bold all-singing, all-dancing production of Lewis Carroll’s classic from the same team behind the sell-out James and the Giant Peach, originally adapted for the stage for the New Vic by Theresa Heskins. And for younger children aged 2-4 Me…. (5-30 Dec) is a touching story about a penguin and their love for their child by popular children’s author Emma Dodd.

Sofie Hagen
The Stage 3 programme goes from strength to strength with an eclectic mix of theatre, music, comedy, spoken word, poetry and scratch nights including Dead Baby Frog (4 Nov) from one of the UK’s most talked about comics, Sofie Hagen – winner of Best Newcomer at Edinburgh Festival 2015, former host of Guilty Feminist and current host of Made of Human cult podcasts; Seiriol Davies fierce, hilarious, ripped-up new musical about being too weird for the world How to Win Against History (10-11 Oct); 
Instructions for Border Crossing
and fresh from Northern Stage’s Edinburgh Fringe programme at Summerhall, Fringe First award-winner Daniel Bye returns with a political thriller as unstable as the world it describes - Instructions for Border Crossing (2-3 Nov); and theatre-meets-gig in Powder Keg’s Morale is High (Since We Gave Up Hope) (15 Nov), exploring the effects of pop culture, political policy and inane day-to-day actions on who we choose to vote for.

Tickets for most shows start at £10 and will go on general sale on 15 June, or to members via a new membership scheme from 5 June. For full details or to book tickets see or call the box office on 0191 230 5151.

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