The Red Lion

A Live Theatre Production

A Live Theatre Production
Written by Patrick Marber
Directed by Max Roberts
Designed by Patrick Connellan
Starring Stephen Tompkinson, John Bowler and Dean Bone

If you thought that badge-kissing mercenaries, wide-boy agents and dodgy deals were confined to the Premier League, think again. Set in the ultra-competitive twilight world of semi-professional football, The Red Lion is a powerful, funny and touching drama that reaches beyond the beautiful game, exploring contrasting ideas about loyalty, ambition and what it takes to win, from three different generations.

This production stars Stephen Tompkinson, well known for his TV appearances as DCI Banks, and who previously appeared at Live Theatre as the lead in Faith & Cold Reading, is re-united with Harrigan co-star John Bowler. John started his TV career in the film Ha'way the Lads playing Sunderland footballer Jimmy Seed. He then went on to feature in Auf Wiedersehen Pet and has since starred in The BillEastEnders and Coronation Street. John, who grew up in Newcastle, will be making his first appearance at Live Theatre. They will be joined by Dean Bone who has had lead roles in Live Theatre’s recent productions The Savage and The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes for which he has been nominated as Best Newcomer at the Journal Culture Awards 2017.

The Red Lion has been specially adapted by Oscar nominated writer Patrick Marber for Live Theatre and the North East following its critically acclaimed opening at the National Theatre in 2015. Patrick wrote Dealer's Choice and Closer, both of which premiered at the National Theatre.

'Marber’s dressing room drama is a remarkable three-hander about a sport he clearly knows intimately’ ★★★★ The Guardian

‘a triumph’  The Telegraph

Post Show Talk
Meet the Writer
Saturday 8 April (after 2pm show)
Writer Patrick Marber discusses the writing of the play and adapting it for Newcastle, with Live Theatre’s Artistic Director Max Roberts, followed by a Question and Answer session.
FREE, booking essential. Suitable for Artsmark visits.
Find out more and book.

Wednesday 19 April after the 7.30pm show
Meet the Cast
Director Max Roberts discusses the making of The Red Lion with cast members Stephen Tompkinson, John Bowler and Dean Bone. Followed by a Q&A.
FREE, booking essential. Suitable for Artsmark visits.
Find out more and book.

Wednesday 3 May (after the 7.30pm show)
Football Panel Discussion
Sports writers Harry Pearson (The Far Corner) and George Caulkin (The Times) and former Newcastle Utd and Seaham Red Star player Steve Harper who now coaches for Newcastle United Academy join director Max Roberts to discuss the importance of amateur football in the North East and issues raised in the play. Followed by a Q&A.

FREE, booking essential. Suitable for Artsmark visits
Find out more and book.

Touch Tour
Saturday 6 May, 1pm
A Touch Tour compliments an Audio Described show; this is a ‘hands on’ tour of the set describing props, costumes, characters and the visual style of the show especially for visitors with visual impairments.
Free, booking essential.
Find out more about all our assisted performances

For every 10 tickets purchased you get one additional free - Ideal for bringing your full football team!  
Call our Box Office on (0191) 232 1232 for group bookings.

BLOG POST - The Red Lion from the rehearsal room by Director Max Roberts - read it here

Rehearsal Images taken by Keith Pattison
The Red Lion - Rehearsal Shots by Keith Pattison

Listen to writer Patrick Marber, director Max Roberts and actor Stephen Tompkinson talk about The Red Lion

Find out how writer Patrick Marber got involved with non league football, hear director Max Roberts talk about the history of how this play came to be at Live Theatre and hear actor Stephen Tompkinson talk about his delight at returning to the stage at Live Theatre.

Related Articles

Find out more about Patrick Marber as he talks about Coogan, creativity and his days as a posh stand up - The Guardian

See Patrick Marber's plays and films in pictures - The Guardian


Patrick Marber

Patrick Marber was a writer and performer on The Day Today and Knowing Me, Knowing You… with Alan Partridge. His plays include Dealers Choice, winner of the Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy and Closer, both at the National Theatre. Closer was adapted by Patrick into a film, which starred actors Julia Roberts, Jude Law and Natalie Portman. Patrick was also Oscar nominated in 2006 for his film adaptation of Zoe Heller’s novel Notes on a Scandal which starred Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench. His other plays include After Miss Julie, Don Juan in Soho and Three Days in the Country. The Red Lion has been specially adapted by Patrick Marber for Live Theatre and the North East, where it will be directed by Live Theatre’s Artistic Director Max Roberts. The Red Lion had its critically acclaimed first run at the National Theatre in 2015.

Max Roberts - Director

Max is the Artistic Director and a founding member of Live Theatre. Over the years Max has worked with some of the country’s finest playwrights, all with strong connections to the North East region including C.P. Taylor, Tom Hadaway, Alan Plater, Phil Woods, Julia Darling, Pater Straughan, Lee Hall, Michael Chaplin, Sean O'Brien, Paddy Campbell, David Almond and Shelagh Stephenson.

Patrick Connellan Designer

Patrick previously designed Iris at Live Theatre. His other theatre credits include The Gaul (Hull Truck Theatre), The Baraem Play (Costume Design) (Al Jazeera Media, Qatar), The Hook (Theatre Royal, Northampton and Liverpool Everyman), The Ladykillers (New Vic/Hull/Stephen Joseph), Roll Over Beethoven, Three Minute Heroes, One Night in November, The Rink, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Dice House and This Lime Tree Bower (as Director and Designer, also Edinburgh Festival). Patrick has previously won the Linbury Prize for Stage Design and a Prague Quadriennale Gold Medal.

Stephen Tompkinson

Stephen starred in Faith & Cold Reading at Live Theatre in 2011 and took part in Red Rabbit, White Rabbit at Live Theatre as part of its 40th birthday celebrations in 2013. He has also starred in Pig Farm (St. James Theatre) Monty Python’s Spamalot (West End). Stephen’s other stage appearances include Sign of the Times and Tartuffe (national tour), The Revenger’s Tragedy and Love’s Labour’s Lost (Royal Exchange,Manchester), Charley’s Aunt (Theatre Royal Bath and tour), Cloaca (Old Vic Theatre), Rattle of a Simple Man (Comedy Theatre), The Play What I Wrote (Newcastle Theatre Royal), Arsenic and Old Lace (Strand Theatre), Art (West End), No One Sees the Video (Royal Court Theatre) and Across the Ferry (Bush Theatre).

John Bowler

John Bowler

The Red Lion is John's first appearance at Live Theatre. His previous theatre appearances include: It Just Stopped (The Orange Tree); Alchemy in the UK (Nuffield); Beauty and the Beast (RSC); Popcorn (UK Tour); A Patriot for Me (RSC); Operation Elvis (RSC/Almeida); Much Ado About Nothing (RSC); Merchant of Venice (RSC); The Danton Affair (RSC); Look Back in Anger (UK & European Tour); The Soldiers Tale ( C.B.S.O); Endgame (Coventry Belgrade); Justa Kick in the Grass (Southampton); Funny Peculiar (Plymouth Theatre Company); Ken Campbell Road Show (Stoke on Trent). Theatre work also includes seasons at Pitlochry, Edinburgh, Dundee Rep, Perth, Rep and & Newcastle.

Dean Bone

Dean trained at Gateshead College gaining an Extended Diploma in Performing Arts and is a former member of Live's Youth Theatre. Dean recently appeared at Live Theatre in The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes, and The Savage by David Almond for which he has been recently nominated as Best Newcomer in the Journal Culture Awards 2017.