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Cast announced for The Cold Buffet - a deliciously comic North East family saga at Live Theatre

Live Theatre, Newcastle Upon Tyne is delighted to announce the cast for The Cold Buffet, a delicious North East family saga by Elijah Young which runs from Thursday 5 to Saturday 28 October 2023. Directed by Jack McNamara, Elijah Young’s play is brought to life by Nick Blakeley, Jane Holman, Amara Karan, Jim Kitson and Beth Fletcher Morris.  

The centrepiece of Live Theatre’s 50th anniversary season The Cold Buffet is an epic and feverishly funny play by rising star Elijah Young, set at a wake, a wedding and a christening over five years with the McCarthy family.

Artistic Director Jack McNamara said: “The play Elijah has written is a true ensemble piece and all about the actors. We spent a lot of time putting together the gloriously dysfunctional McCarthy family and have ended up with a cast to die for. Four outstanding and hugely loved North East actors are joined onstage by the amazing Amara Karan who I have long wanted to bring to Live Theatre and Newcastle. I can’t wait for them to feed our audience souls.

Elijah Young, writer of The Cold Buffet said: “Jack has pulled together a really dynamic and talented set of actors to be our McCarthy family and I am so excited to see what they do with the script. I am so pleased with this cast as it was so important to me for these roles to be cast authentically and to have some really strong players as even though there may be a central character, this play isn't one person's story. I really wanted to bring The Cold Buffet to Live Theatre because this is specifically a story of a North East family and I hope that this theatre's signature cabaret seating will only help in making the audience feel like they are a part of the party.”

The role of Ayeesha is played by Amara Karan. Her theatre credits include Bloody Difficult Women (Wind of Change/Cahoots Theatre Company), Much Ado About NothingThe Taming of The ShrewThe Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RSC). Amara’s film credits include Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited, St. Trinians’ (Ealing Studios),T.I.M. (Netflix) and the forthcoming House of Spoils (Amazon Studios). Amara’s TV credits include HBO’s The Night Of, Sky One’s Stan Lees Lucky Man and for the BBC, Hope Street and Doctor Who

Nick Blakeley takes on the role of Ellis. Nick’s theatre credits include The Claim (Shoreditch Town Hall), Twelfth Night (Orange Tree Theatre), I Heart Catherine Pistachio (Soho Theatre/Yard Theatre), Brideshead Revisited (York Theatre Royal/UK Tour), Hapgood (Hampstead Theatre) and Comment Is Free (Old Vic Theatre). TV credits include Belgravia (ITV), Summer of Rockets (BBC), Theresa Vs Boris: How May Became PM (BBC), Beyond Reasonable Doubt (CNN), Doctors (BBC) and The Old Bailey (BBC).

Jane Holman plays Ellis’ grandma Evelyn, the matriarch of the McCarthy family. Jane’s theatre credits include: Lush Life, Oh What a Lovely War, Twelve Tales of Tyneside, Cabaret, Lenya and In Blackberry Time (all for Live Theatre), Tyne (Live Theatre/Theatre Royal Newcastle) and Close the Coalhouse Door (Northern Stage). Television credits include: Vera, Inspector George Gently, Undercover, and The Dumping Ground and feature films, School for Seduction, Harrigan’s Nick and Billy Elliot.

Jim Kitson joins the cast as Ellis’ Dad, David. Jim’s theatre credits include Red Ellen (Nottingham Playhouse), Treasure Island (Derby Theatre), Pitmen Painters (NE Vic Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Drowned Man  (National Theatre), The Taxi Driver’s Daughter (Live Theatre) and Cooking With Elvis (Hull Truck). Television credits include Vera and Emmerdale (ITV), Byker Grove and Inspector George Gently (BBC), Land of Women (Apple+) and Tracy Beaker Returns (CBBC).

Beth Fletcher Morris returns to Live Theatre as Max, Ellis’cousin and Grandma's favourite. Beth’s theatre credits include We Are The Best! (Live Theatre), The Boyfriend (Newcastle College) and Cinderella (Whitley Bay Pantomime Society).

Tickets for this premiere production, laced with dry humour and a good helping of interpersonal tension are on sale now at or from Box Office on (0191) 232 1232.  

  • Arts Council England
  • Community Foundation
  • European Regional Development Fund


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