Live Theatre launches spring season of its 40th anniversary year

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 marks Live Theatre’s 40th anniversary year, founded in 1973 by Geoff Gilman as a radical theatre company, taking plays to audiences in non-theatrical locations, it is now an established theatre located in redeveloped Grade II buildings on Newcastle’s quayside. Live Theatre supports new writing and acting talent, with its plays having transferred to London’s West End and toured nationally and internationally including The Pitmen Painters to New York.

Artistic Director, Max Roberts said

“2013 sees Live Theatre celebrate its 40th birthday. Throughout this time we’ve given a platform to the region’s finest writing and performance talent. Many of the plays have been inspired by the places, people and stories of the north east. That they have also been seen on national and international stages is not only a testimony to their quality and universality but also to the rich and distinctive cultural identity of our region. So it’s a special year for us and we’ve tried to devise a programme of plays and events that will live in the memory for as long as some of the many triumphs seen on our stages over the last 40 years.”

Live Theatre’s 40th anniversary programme is supported by Port of Tyne as part of a special year-long relationship.

Max Roberts, Artistic Director, Live Theatre added:

“We are delighted to announce a special year long relationship with Port of Tyne to support our 40th anniversary. Celebrating their own 45th anniversary, this partnership with the Port will enable us to deliver a programme recognising Live Theatre’s own strong connections to the river, the Port and the trading heritage of the region.”

Andrew Moffat, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Tyne, said:

“We are delighted to be helping Live Theatre celebrate 40 years of discovering, developing and nurturing the talent and creativity that continues to be such a vital factor in ensuring our region is a good place to live, learn, work, visit, invest and do business.”

Launching the season is White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, a wild, utterly original play from Iran. Imagine being 29 and forbidden to leave your country. Writer Nassim Soleimanpour turns his isolation to his own advantage with a play that requires no director, no set and a different actor for every performance.

Live Theatre has invited a different actor, writer or comedian associated with the company to perform White Rabbit, Red Rabbit each evening with performances between Thursday 21 February to Sunday 17 March. Performers confirmed so far include actors Chris Connel (The Pitmen Painters), Charlie Hardwick (Emmerdale, Faith & Cold Reading), John Hodgkinson (A Walk On Part), Nitin Kundra (Harper Regan), Amy McAllister (A Northern Odyssey, Call the Midwife), Hywel Morgan, (A Walk On Part), Laura Norton (Faith & Cold Reading), Shaun Prendergast (Emmerdale, Searching for Tom Hadaway) and Stephen Tompkinson (Faith & Cold Reading), writers Stella Duffy, Shelagh Stephenson and Tracy Whitwell, comedians Sarah Millican and Patrick Monahan, and poet and performer Degna Stone. The dates of each performer will be announced on Wednesday 23 January, and until then Early Bird tickets are available for £10 (Early Bird tickets are non-transferable).

Gez Casey, Literary Manager, Live Theatre said:

White Rabbit, Red Rabbit is an engaging and powerful allegory. Not only is the play a challenge for the performer, but the audience knows very little about it before they arrive, and are asked to keep the details secret afterwards. It was chosen for our 40th birthday year as it is an engaging piece of writing with a strong social message. It’s also a great opportunity to welcome back performers with a long association with the company.”

Live Theatre also presents Captain Amazing and Brilliant Adventures, two plays by 2011 Bruntwood Prize winning writer Alistair McDowall, originally from Middlesbrough, and now based in Manchester.

Captain Amazing was one of the winners of Live Theatre and Empty Space’s Bursary for the 2012 FUSES: New Writing Festival. This funny and poignant one man show has since been developed into a full production and will be shown at Live Theatre from Tuesday 9 to Saturday 13 April before transferring to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.

Brilliant Adventures, set on a near abandoned Middlesbrough housing estate, is a fast paced tale of brotherhood, addiction and breaking the laws of physics. Nineteen-year-old science genius Luke finally has some peace to work on the extraordinary box in his living room, until his brother Rob introduces him to a wealthy out-of-towner whose dangerous world threatens to tear the brothers apart and unleash the power inside his invention. Brilliant Adventures is at Live Theatre from Wednesday 29 May to Saturday 15 June. Co-produced by Live Theatre with The Royal Exchange Theatre, it is directed by JMK Young Director Award winner Caroline Steinbeis.

Gez Casey, Literary Manager, Live Theatre said:

“We are delighted to be working with the Royal Exchange Theatre on this Bruntwood Prize winning play in which Alistair has created a world where the extraordinary is entirely ordinary and we watch the mundane turn into the fantastical.”

Live Witness is specially commissioned for Live Theatre’s 40th birthday, from an idea by Stella Duffy. Live Witness is being developed and directed by two of the region’s brightest theatrical talents; Annie Rigby (Unfolding Theatre) and Amy Golding (Theatre Auracaria), who are gathering audiences’ stories and memories about the theatre and its buildings and characters. Anyone with a story to share is invited to post it on Live Theatre’s website www.live.org.uk.

Live Witness will reveal secrets and stories in a promenade performance across Live Theatre’s buildings including the newly converted Schoolhouse, with performances between Tuesday 14 and Saturday 25 May. Places are limited so early booking is advised

Max Roberts, Artistic Director, Live Theatre said:

Live Witness gives audiences wider access to our wonderful buildings. It will introduce The Schoolhouse, our latest social enterprise project, which brings an important historical building back into use as part of our complex of beautifully restored buildings.”

Live Theatre is also hosting three visiting theatre companies this season. On Tuesday 16 April, Bandages, the debut play by award-winning director Kirsty Housley, follows two sisters who build a fragile and fantastical web of stories to keep the dangers outside at bay, but when reality crashes in, their carefully constructed world can never be the same. Bandages is presented by TEG Productions and Corn Exchange, Newbury.

The Space Between Us, a tale of biblical floods hitting the North East from Open Clasp Theatre Company is at Live Theatre from Thursday 18 to Saturday 20 April. Three months of rain fall in one day, roads are closed and four women seek sanctuary, security and refuge. However the women find themselves in a battle, not only with the rising tide and with each other, but with humanity itself.

Max Roberts, Artistic Director, Live Theatre said:

“I’m delighted to welcome back Open Clasp, a local company whose work is always accessible, popular and important and offers a welcome and timely response to issues of inequality and prejudice.”

Mess by Caroline Horton is a play that confronts big (and very tiny) issues. This unflinching look at anorexia is produced by China Plate and is at Live Theatre on Tuesday 30 April and Wednesday 1 May with workshops and a discussion on Wednesday 1 May.

Live Lab, sponsored by Potts Print UK, brings the most exciting and experimental new theatre to Live Theatre’s Studio space. On Friday 15 March winners of the Emerging Artists Bursary, sleepdogs present the opportunity to see Tales from the Old World,  the beginnings of a very new show inspired by Newcastle and its surroundings, and for the audience to give feedback over a drink afterwards. The hugely popular Scratch Night returns on Thursday 18 April with short performances in development by some of the best new theatre companies.

Live Lab also teams up with ARC in Stockton to present Live ARCADE, a series of new work from their ARCADE artists. Mike Edwards performs a comic adventure including spoken word, stand-up comedy and theatre in The Trials of the Invisible Man on Thursday 7 February, Claire Murphy Morgan writes and performs a piece searching for a lost personal diary in Editor on Thursday 7 March, in Good Breeding on Thursday 4 April Kate Fox takes a journey exploring what life is for if you don’t want children and Staggered by Dan Perry on Thursday 2 May explores the perils of the stag do.

Gez Casey, Literary Manager said

“Live Theatre is delighted to be teaming up with our colleagues at ARC in Stockton to showcase work from their ARCADE group of artists and theatre makers as part of our Live Lab season.”

Toy Stories is a journey into the magical world of toys. Ten short plays over two nights will be presented by Live’s Youth Theatre on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 February as a half term treat for families.  Write Stuff is six plays written by 13 and 14 year olds from Benfield School in the East End of Newcastle as part of Live Theatre’s Education residency programme. One of the plays from last year’s Write Stuff, Michaela’s Mistake written by Chelsey Cleminson from Excelsior Academy when she was just 12, follows one insecure schoolgirl’s alternative world created over the internet. The play is at Live Theatre between Thursday 11 and Saturday 13 April before touring to schools in the North East.

Max Roberts, Artistic Director, Live Theatre said:

Michaela’s Mistake by Chelsey Cleminson is a compelling and prescient play superbly written, performed and directed. It was created initially as part of our young writers initiative Write Stuff and has been expanded and developed for presentation at Live Theatre and for a tour of local schools. It’s a ‘must see’ believe me.”

Mr Drayton’s Record Player celebrates the four best albums of 1973, as voted for by Live Theatre audiences. Each of the top four albums will be played in entirety on vinyl on Monday 11 February, 11 March, 15 April and 13 May. The selection is online and votes can be cast until Sunday 27 January. On Sunday 26 May, Mr Drayton also presents Live Theatre’s Single’s Club in which guests associated with Live Theatre present and play their favourite single. Live Theatre also host music from the Jumpin’ Hot Club including The Old Tire Swingers, Rita Hosking and Archie Brown, Rebecca Pronsky and Bridie Jackson & The Arbour and The Toy Hearts plus Vera van Heeringen.

To mark the fifth anniversary of Live Theatre’s comedy course it welcomes back the cream of the course graduates including regulars on the comedy club circuit Lauren Pattinson and Lewis Gray in Comedy Course Corkers on Sunday 10 February. Graduates from the most recent comedy course will present their final show on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 May after 6 weeks of honing their stand-up routines. Stand-up comedians visiting the theatre include Phil Nichol and Sean Percival on Saturday 2 February, Luisa Omielan who asks What Would Beyoncé Do?! on Saturday 9 February, Patrick Monahan Shooting from the Lip on Wednesday 27 February and following his smash hit Edinburgh shows award-winning comedian Terry Alderton on Saturday 11 May. Live Stand-Up is sponsored by Potts Print UK.

Tickets for this season’s events in the Main Theatre cost from £22 to £10 (£15-£5 concessions) and £5 to £3 for Live Lab events in the Studio.

Tickets can be booked via Live Theatre’s box office on (0191) 232 1232 or online at www.live.org.uk.

Port of Tyne