Programme launch for June to December of 40th birthday year

Now on sale Thursday, May 23, 2013

Live Theatre launches the June to December season of its 40th birthday year which includes two specially commissioned new plays Tyne and Wet House and the revival of one of its most successful plays, Cooking With Elvis.

Jim Beirne, Chief Executive of Live Theatre said:

“The second half of the year has an exceptionally strong programme. I am delighted that Tyne by Michael Chaplin opens here in June as part of the Festival of the North East. In the autumn we produce Wet House, by an exciting new writer, Paddy Campbell, who has been nurtured by Live Theatre’s new writing programme. The play is a darkly funny tale of life in a homeless hostel full of alcoholics. We also welcome back Cooking with Elvis 15 years after it was first written and produced at Live Theatre, when Lee Hall was our writer-in-residence. In 40 years Live Theatre has produced nearly 200 plays, many of which have travelled nationally and internationally, worked with thousands of young people and helped develop the talent of some of the finest writers, actors and directors of their generation.”

Launching the season and part of the Festival of the North East is Tyne, a brand new play which maps the epic history, atmosphere and soul of the mighty river in story, music and images. Written by Michael Chaplin, the play dramatises stories from his book Tyne View, woven together with extracts from writers Tom Hadaway Julia Darling, Alan Plater and Sid Chaplin. Tyne is accompanied by live music and songs inspired by the river complied by musical director Kathryn Tickell, including new songs she has composed for the play using words from old maritime poems set to new tunes.

Tyne features actors Zoe Lambert, Jane Holman both starring in Live Theatre’s current play Live Witness, Victoria Elliot (Hebburn) and Phil Corbett (Looking for Buddy) who have all made regular appearances at Live Theatre. Appearing at Live Theatre for the first time are South Shields born actor George Irving (Holby City), Paul Dodds (Antigone, Timon of Athens at the National Theatre) and Newcastle born Assad Zaman making his theatrical debut. Tyne runs between Thursday 27 June and Saturday 20 July and is supported by Port of Tyne. A free discussion between writer Michael Chaplin and director Max Roberts will take place at 5.30pm on Saturday 29 June followed by a signing of Michael Chaplin’s book Tyne View.

Wet House by Paddy Campbell, a dark comedy based on Paddy’s first-hand experience of working with alcoholics in a homeless hostel, is at Live Theatre from Wednesday 18 September to Saturday 5 October. When idealistic young graduate Andy gets a job in a homeless hostel where the residents can drink, he is plunged into a world where the rules about what is right and normal have become blurred, and that’s just amongst the staff. Wet House questions how you can keep your head when everyone else is off theirs and who will look after the people that no-one else will look after. It is a startling original first full length play by a writer who has been supported through Live Theatre’s new writing development scheme.

Lee Hall, playwright, said:

“It’s fitting that in its 40th birthday year Live Theatre has unearthed and commissioned yet another exciting new writing talent. Paddy’s play possesses a subject matter that is important and prescient, his characters smack of authenticity and there’s a searing emotional depth to the piece that is both arresting and heart-breaking. He’s also seriously funny – it marks a highly impressive debut.”

Lee Hall’s hugely popular play, Cooking With Elvis returns from Thursday 17 October to Saturday 23 November, revived in a brand new production, 15 years after it was first written and produced at Live Theatre. Premiered to great acclaim and subsequently performed all over the world, this provocative and hilarious play is a homage to the king of over consumption and a heartfelt exploration of loss and longing.

Max Roberts, Artistic Director, Live Theatre said:

“As Cooking With Elvis is one of our greatest hits, it seemed appropriate to revive it here in Newcastle for the first time since its premiere in 1998. That it has been produced extensively nationally and internationally since our premiere is a testimony to its universal appeal, emotional intensity and wild and anarchic humour.”

Live Theatre hosts four visiting theatre companies this season. In Brown Bird on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 June, Brown Owl Beth brings about a chain of events from which her community may never recover. This script-in-hand performance is written by Lee Mattinson (Chalet Lines and Me & Cilla), stars Paula Penman (Donna Disco) and is directed by Laura Lindow. Company on Thursday 20 to Saturday 22 June is a new version of fast moving, dark comedy by award-winning local writer Dick Curran. Beats by Kieran Hurley on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 November is a one night journey into a world of state repression, chemical excess, teenage longing, police violence with a background of the 1994 Criminal Justice Act. Newly added to the season are Paper Birds who bring their new play On The One Hand, on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 December after its premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer. Six women at different stages in their lives share stories of ageing and our inevitable journey from birth to death.

Live Lab, sponsored by Potts Print UK, brings the most exciting and experimental new theatre to Live Theatre’s Studio space. To coincide with Tyne, RiverRuns on Sunday 7 July is a spectacular night of words and music from local writers and musicians celebrating the river. Alison Carr presents The Soaking of Vera Shrimp, a work in progress on Thursday 11 and Friday 12 July. Trashed Organ present two events – in The Mythsummer Sundae on Sunday 23 June, they take over the top floor of Live Theatre with an evening of psychedelic theatre, music, poetry and ice cream and return to the Christmas underworld with Christmas Noir, a night of theatre, music and poetry on Wednesday 18 December.

From Thursday 8 August to Sunday 11 August Live’s Youth Theatre present Party Poppers, their 14th Youth Theatre Festival, with plays inspired by Live Theatre’s past, brand new pieces devised in a week, a newly formed Girls’ Sketch Group and an evening of improvisation. The Girls’ Sketch Group, made up of talented female members of Live’s Youth Theatre, will make another further appearances having honed and developed their sketches further with writers Laura Lindow and Lee Mattinson on Friday 1 November and Saturday 2 November as part of Juice – NewcastleGateshead’s award-winning festival for children and young people.

Paul James, Associate Director of Education & Participation at Live Theatre said:

“The Girls’ Sketch Group is an exciting project which recognises the abundance of young female comedic talent emerging through Live’s Youth Theatre. This will be a fantastic project for the young women.”

Between the Lines… on Friday 13 to Sunday 15 December is the culmination of education project Write Stuff run in conjunction with Benfield High School this year. The pieces written by 13 and 14 year olds will be performed by professional actors in Live’s Main Theatre and include living room war games, sibling rivalry, extreme sports for pensioners and celebrity revenge.

Previewing at Live Theatre, on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 July, before it goes to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is Moving Family, a sharp new comedy for family audiences by Paul Charlton, double Fringe First award-winning writer and star of BBC2’s The Ginge, The Geordie and The Geek. Set in the back of a removal van, two sets of siblings journey to the new home that they’ll share as a new step-family.

The Ginge, The Geordie and The Geek also preview their new Edinburgh at Live Theatre on Saturday 27 July which will include the best sketches from their new BBC2 series in an hour of clean uplifting fun and silliness. Richard Herring also previews his new Edinburgh show We’re All Going to Die! on Sunday 28 July in which he tackles the undiscovered country from which no traveller returns. The graduates of Live Theatre’s autumn stand-up comedy course present the routines that they have honed in their Comedy Course Final Shows on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 November. Plus, watch out for more Edinburgh preview shows as talented new acts test out new material before heading up to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Live Stand-Up is sponsored by Potts Print UK.

Jumpin’ Hot Club present a series of gigs including Nashville based Clive Gregson, an accomplished singer, guitarist, musician and record-producer and one of Mary Chaplin Carpenter’s favourite songwriters on Saturday 1 June and acclaimed songster Sam Baker on Wednesday 4 September who is known for singing his soul out with the voice of a dust ballad troubadour. Minnesota based singer Chastity Brown also returns to the North East on Friday 20 September supported by local singer songwriter Beccy Owen and Canadian Matt Anderson brings his sprawling blues, roots and rock hybrid to the Studio Theatre on Thursday 21 November. The Caffreys’ host their annual Christmas Bash on Saturday 7 December and Archie Brown and the Young Bucks bring their Christmas Shebang to Live Theatre on Friday 20 December. Both of these are hugely popular and sell out very fast so advance booking is strongly recommended.

This autumn Live Theatre also hosts its Live Writers Group, an Introduction to Playwriting course and Stand Up Comedy Course as well as an evening introduction to its online course in a Want to Be A Playwright? event.

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

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

“The Port is proud to be celebrating Live Theatre’s 40 years of making plays. The special year-long relationship with Live supports its anniversary programme and recognizes Live Theater’s strong connections to the river and synergy with the Port of Tyne.”

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