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Five Years of New Plays by Rising Talent from Elevator Festival 5

Five Years of New Plays by Rising Talent from Elevator Festival 5

Elevator Festival returns to Live Theatre for its fifth year between 11 and 21 March 2020 with seven brand new plays.

Elevator Festival is a showcase of Live Theatre’s artist development programme. It is a celebration of the best new theatre from emerging and early career artists from the North East and beyond. It puts rising talent centre stage along with events and workshops with top industry professionals.

All of the seven new plays presented have been made directly through Live Theatre’s artist development programme and have been recipients of the coveted Live Theatre Bursary.  The award of £2000 plus production and development support helps independent artists get their ideas of the ground without having to take all the risk themselves. Supporting artists in the early stages of their careers is a key part of Live Theatre’s mission and central to its artistic programme.

Graeme Thompson, Creative Producer, Live Theatre said:

“It’s amazing to think that Elevator is back for its fifth year. Since it started back in 2014 we’ve helped to launch 25 brand new plays many of which have gone on to do some great things. This year’s festival is the biggest to date with seven brand new plays from some fantastic artists and I can’t wait to share these new plays and celebrate five years of Elevator Festival.”

Last Seen Bensham Road written and performed by North East based Samantha Neale is a moving story of motherhood, mental health and transcendent love.  Redcoat is a one-man dark comedy exploring the role of the entertainer and their relationship to happiness. Loosely inspired by Newcastle writer and performer Lewis Jobson’s personal experience as a Butlins Redcoat. (Thursday 12 to Saturday 14 March).

Getting Away With it by playwright Ed Edwards and Director Cressida Brown who collaborated on sell-out play The Political History of Smack and Crack, is a tale of two cities – Moss side in Manchester and Bogside in Derry. Leaping between the present and 1981 with hunger strikes in Ireland and mass uprisings in Britain, asking how are they connected and who’s gonna get it? The second play in this double bill is Dawn, by Rachel McGill. This comic-political rap musical follows Dawn, an ordinary woman and hairdresser who discovers special powers and becomes an international double agent. Musical Director, Newcastle actor-musician Calum Howard of Grey Tapes will compose the original score. (Tuesday 17, to Thursday 19 March).

The final double bill is Snatched and Magic Bus. Snatched co-devised by actor and disability advocate Melissa Johns and director Lily Levin is a humorous, honest and revealing show which mixes verbatim monologues, melodrama, news headlines and music to tell a true story, champion female sexuality, fight body shaming and the taboo of sex and disability. Written and performed by Sian Armstrong, Magic Bus chronicles a life changing adventure and hilarious story about family, hope and the coming together of different cultures. (Friday 20 and Saturday 21 March).

Faster Than Bolt, a work in progress reading by Juliana Mensah on Saturday 14 March follows Faizah, a girl who hitchhikes from Newcastle to London to try to outrun Usain Bolt at the 2012 Olympics and ultimately become a British citizen.

A specially curated programme of workshops and discussions, providing insights into theatre making opens on Wednesday 11 March with Northern Generic? The discussion will raise the questions: what are the characteristics of Northern new plays; does the North have a specific character; what is general Northern? 

Live Theatre’s Artistic Director Joe Douglas will lead what is anticipated to be a very popular Director’s Masterclass on Saturday 14 March. 

Independent Producers/Producing Your Own Work on Saturday 14 March will see a panel of producers and artists from the Independent sector discussing and leading a Q&A on self-produced work.

The pressures faced by individuals in the theatre industry, self-care methods and how to work towards a caring reflective practice will be the focus of The Art of Wellbeing on Monday 16 March.

Live Theatre’s young people’s spoken word group will perform their words to be heard in Wordplay, the final Elevator 5 free event on Saturday 21 March.

Since 2014, Elevator Festival has launched 25 brand new plays, worked with 17 Associate Artists and awarded 16 Bursaries.

Tickets for Elevator Festival 5 are priced from £3 to £10 with some events free. To book tickets and to find out more contact Live Theatre’s Box Office on (0191) 232 1232 or visit

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


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