Skip to main content

Local talent, rare readings and incredible encounters with star guests

For 50 years, the Newcastle Quayside theatre has brought audiences cutting edge new writing that showcases amazing local talent. With stories rooted in the North East, Live Theatre has survived by trusting new talent and cultivating a local audience hungry for new experiences . This mini season throughout April will bring together actors and writers from Live Theatre’s illustrious past along with the cutting edge new talent paving the way for the future.

The first reading on Thursday 13 April, will be Nina Berry’s The Taxi Driver’s Daughter. A celebration of Julia Darling on the anniversary of her death, based on Darling’s novel.

Live Theatre audiences voted on the plays that they would wish to return and Wet House by Paddy Campbell was a clear winner. Campbell’s ‘thrillingly funny’ (The Guardian) and deeply moving play set in a homeless hostel receives a box fresh reading with a roll call of brilliant local actors on Friday 14 April.

On Saturday 15 April, Live Theatre royalty Shelagh Stephenson introduces An Experiment With An Air Pump, her internationally acclaimed play set in Newcastle on consecutive New Years Eves.

Live Theatre’s flagship play The Filleting Machine by Tom Hadaway will be read alongside Alex Oates’ The Filleting App, an update on the story for the digital age on Sunday 16 April.

Renowned Middlesbrough playwright Ishy Din returns to his breakthrough play Snookered on Friday 21 April. Set in a snooker hall, a group of young men meet to commemorate the death of a friend.

The final reading is Lee Hall’s hilarious and thought provoking Wittgenstein On Tyne on Saturday 22 April. Live Theatre brings together one of the defining creative partnerships Director Max Robers and writer Lee Hall along with original cast members.

Live Encounters will see an extraordinary line-up of guests devoting their time to answer questions, share anecdotes and chat in front of a live audience. Funds raised from the extra special Live Encounters will support Live Theatre’s Talent Development and Children and Young People’s Programmes. Previous Live Encounters in celebration of the milestone year have included actor and tv presenter/producer Robson Green and acclaimed filmmaker Ken Loach in conversation with Major Jamie Driscoll.

Nadine Shah, one of the greatest musical voices of our age and proud South Tynesider will talk about creativity, formative influences and her upcoming play To Be A Young Man on Thursday 6 April.

On Saturday 15 April, ‘The world’s greatest living stand up’ (The Times), Stewart Lee will be talking art and ideas with Neil Jackson with live music from Mariam Rezaei and Angharad Davies

Chris Mullin launches a new volume of his diaries on Wednesday 19 April and paints a vivid picture of our recent political history in interview by playwright Michael Chaplin.

The fundraiser Live Encounter highlights will see star guests Jimmy Nail and Sting take to the stage. Legendary actor and musician Jimmy Nail will talk about those who inspired him and he will perform a select few songs with a trio of musicians on Wednesday 12 April. Live Theatre is absolutely thrilled to welcome the iconic artist Sting on Thursday 20 April. The 17-time Grammy Award winner will chat with Artistic Director  Jack McNamara about his life, career and musical inspirations and will also perform a few songs – a standout event for one night only!

Jack McNamara said: “The love that a lot of people feel for Live Theatre is palpable and as someone relatively new to the organisation it has been incredibly moving to see. So much has happened here, so many risks have been taken, so many unheard voices championed. Great artists are coming here from literally all over the world to give us their time and brilliance in this milestone year, and I am thankful to all of them. It’s also a chance for us to bridge the ground-breakers of the past with the artists and ideas of the future.”

Tickets for the Live Readings and Live Encounters are on sale now. Demand for tickets is expected to be high and Jimmy Nail and Sting are both sold out. Find out more and book here or via Box Office on (0191) 232 1232.

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


See What's On