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Nadine Shah to star on stage at Live Theatre Newcastle, Brighton and London in her own play 'To Be A Young Man' marking ten years since the release of her debut album

One of the most original voices in contemporary music, Nadine Shah has turned her hand to playwriting in a theatrical collaboration with writer Jackie Thompson (The Girl is Mime) that takes a deep dive into the themes of her astonishing debut Love Your Dum And Mad. Named after one of the album's signature tunes,  To Be A Young Man will run at Live Theatre Newcastle from Thursday 4 – Saturday 20 May 2023, before heading to Brighton Festival (24 May) and London’s Southbank (26 May). In both Brighton and London, Nadine will perform a very special pared down musical set after the production.

The acclaimed Newcastle venue, approached South Tyneside born Shah as part of its own 50th anniversary celebrations to create a theatrical response to her first album. The resulting play is inspired by a young man who was central to the album’s conception who took his own life. Taking this as a starting point, Shah and her co-writer Jackie Thompson have created a stunning theatrical work in which four disparate characters meet at the wake of a friend. Inspired by the themes and ideas of the album, and haunted by the ghost of its music, To Be A Young Man is a rare example of one art form beautifully reshaping itself into another.

Live Theatre’s Artistic Director Jack McNamara said: “When I first approached Nadine with the notion of finding a theatrical form for her album, I had no idea what direction it would take nor how personal it would become. The idea grew and grew and Nadine paired up with the writer Jackie Thompson, a close friend who really understood her world and work. Together they have gone so deep into where this amazing album came from and found its narrative so naturally. It’s a rare privilege to watch an artist go back to that very first creative expression and find a new life for it through a different lens. And having Nadine in the production as well completes the whole picture perfectly, bringing it right into the present tense. It will be a very exciting thing to witness and be part of.“

Nadine Shah added: “I’ve been an admirer of Live Theatre for years and for years I’ve been desperate to find some opportunity to make something with my friend, the writer Jackie Thompson. This seemed a no brainer and the perfect chance to collaborate with this brilliant place and my incredibly talented friend. It’s a total honour. Acting doesn’t come easy to me but sadistically I enjoy the challenge.”

To Be A Young Man is produced In Association with the Brighton Festival, a particularly meaningful partnership given that much of Nadine’s past album recordings have taken place in nearby Lewes, with her key collaborators based in the area.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton Festival said: “We are thrilled to be presenting To Be A Young Man at Brighton Festival 2023. This year’s Festival theme of Gather Round speaks perfectly to artists breaking boundaries and reaching beyond the familiar through new and inspired creative collaborations. We can’t wait to see the work that has grown from Nadine’s stunning debut album and partnership with Jack and Jackie.”

A Live Theatre at 50 production, and the second premiere of the 50th Birthday season, To Be A Young Man will be directed by Jack McNamara and will star Nadine Shah with remaining cast to be announced very soon. Mercury Prize nominated singer songwriter Nadine made her acting debut at Northern Stage in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in October 2022.

Live Theatre is also delighted to announce that Nadine will take part in an extremely rare Q&A, at a Live Theatre 50th Birthday Live Encounter on Thursday 6 April. Shah will talk about creativity, formative influences and To Be A Young Man.

A Live Theatre production in association with Brighton Festival, To Be A Young Man opens on Thursday 4 May with tickets priced from £6 to £28 available from or Box Office on (0191) 232 1232.

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


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