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Elevator Festival - Introducing the best new plays by rising talent

Elevator Festival returns to Live Theatre from Tuesday 16 to Saturday 26 March with an exciting opportunity to take a first look at plays by the future theatre makers from the North East and beyond. Made possible through the Live Theatre Bursary and Talent Development programme, Elevator Festival is a celebration of the very best new theatre talent.  Alongside the plays and readings is a specially curated programme of insightful workshops with leading theatre professionals and networking opportunities.

Two brand new plays by North East writers take centre stage in the festival. The first is Intergalactic (Petals and Constellations) from Wednesday 16 to Saturday 19 March. Written by Alison Scurfield and Directed by Graeme Thompson this debut play is a witty and tender tale about grief, growing up gay and the universe. The second is The Twenty Seven Club by Lucy Nichol and Chris Connel from Wednesday 23 to Saturday 26 March. Set in 1990’s Newcastle after the recent death of Kurt Cobain, Emma's anxious mind becomes obsessed with one question – why do so many rock stars die aged 27?

The hugely popular Elevator Festival Scratch Night on Monday 21 March will see five North East artists present work-in-progress extracts of brand new theatre. This is a fantastic vehicle for artists to test and explore their new work in front of an audience and to receive feedback which can help to shape the development of the productions.

Other events include a play reading of Kerry Wright’s Kailey, on Saturday 19 March at 4pm. A semi-autobiographical comedy drama about the turbulent journey of an 18-year old as she tries to navigate life alone whilst her mum is caught in the prison system.

Artists Question Time on Tuesday 15 March, will be a chance for theatre artists and audiences to put their questions to a leading industry panel. Hosted by Live Theatre’s Artistic Director Jack McNamara, attendees can expect debate about new writing, making new work and moving forward from the pandemic. The programme also includes two workshops led by Jack McNamara - Introduction to Directing on Saturday 19 March and Directing Through Design on Saturday 26 March.

Graeme Thompson, Creative Producer at Live Theatre said: “It’s so important to be able to get back to one of the most vital things we do at Live Theatre. Now more than ever it is vital to look to the future and support artists from our region to create bold, original and contemporary new theatre.

Lucy Nichol, co-writer of The Twenty Seven Club said: “The Live Theatre Bursary has given Chris and I the opportunity to expand and develop our skill sets and really challenge ourselves. For Chris, this has meant stepping outside of acting and into the role of writer/director, while I have been able to learn how to transfer a story from page to stage. Live Theatre’s encouragement and support has been invaluable and we can’t wait to introduce The Twenty Seven Club to audiences.”

Emerging theatre makers are at the heart of Elevator Festival which is kindly supported by The John Ellerman Foundation. Be the first to see artists on the rise and be part of the conversation. Tickets are priced from £6 - £8 with many events free. To book tickets and to find out more go to

Programme of Events

Tue 15 March, 7.30pm, Artists Question Time

Wed 16 – Sat 19 March, 7.30pm, Intergalactic (Petals and Constellations)

Sat 19 March, 11am, Introduction to Directing

Sat 19 March, 4pm, Kailey

Mon 21 March, 7.30pm, Elevator Scratch Night

Wed 23 – Sat 26 March, 7.30pm (2.30pm matinee Sat 26 March) The Twenty Seven Club

Sat 26 March, 11am, Directing By Design

To find out more about each event and book go to


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


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