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History

Live Theatre was founded on Tyneside in 1973 by Geoff Gillham, Val McLane and amongst others, actor Tim Healy. Its work has a strong regional identity and the company aims to attract new audiences for its accessible work and to its friendly and informal theatre space.

Founded as a radical theatre company, taking plays to audiences in non-theatrical locations. The company took work that reflected contemporary working class life to clubs and pubs. Playwrights Tom Hadaway and later C.P Taylor provided plays that reflected working class life in the region, that could transcend its locale. Live Theatre then began to focus on the role of the writer and promoting new writing. With the aid of grants old almshouses and warehouses on Broad Chare, Newcastle Quayside were purchased in 1982/3 to turn into a theatre with a strongly social feel, with a bar in the corner. Alan Plater began to write for the company and a generation of young, local actors including Robson Green, Charlie Hardwick and Trevor Fox became associated with the company and the youth and education programmes became established. Redevelopments in 1997 and 2005 increased the size of the buildings, with social enterprises The Broad Chare pub opening in 2011 and The schoolhouse office complex in 2013. In 2014, Live Theatre announced LiveWorks, a £10 million capital development to purchase and develop quayside-fronted land and buildings adjacent to the Theatre, to create new commercial office space, a public park and a children and young people’s writing centre.

It was from these beginnings that Live Theatre became a new writing producing theatre. Watch our history videos to find out more about Live Theatre's rich history. If you'd prefer to view our videos on our You Tube playlist then you can do so here: http://bit.ly/historyfilms