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Rare readings showcase new writing, local talent and winning plays

To celebrate Live Theatre’s 50th Birthday and pave the way for the future, we present an exciting series of rare readings. This mini season throughout April will bring together actors and writers from Live Theatre’s illustrious past along with cutting edge new talent. The line up of readings includes The Taxi Driver’s Daughter, Wet House, An Experiment With An Air Pump, The Filleting Machine + The Filleting App, Snookered and Wittgenstein On Tyne.

The first reading on Thursday 13 April, will be Nina Berry’s The Taxi Driver’s Daughter directed by Becky Morris.  A celebration of Julia Darling on the anniversary of her death, based on Darling’s novel. This poignant and brilliantly vivid tale is told with tenderness and great wit by Anna Bolton (We Are The Best!), Beth Crame (The Sorceror’s Apprentice, Lasagna, Carousel), Zoe Lambert (Tyne, Tiny Fragments of Beautiful Light, Lasagna), Michael Blair (The Last Ship, The Borrowers, A Dolls House) and Caitlin Fairlamb.

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 is directed by Bex Bowsher and receives a box fresh reading with a roll call of brilliant local actors on Friday 14 April. The cast includes Joe Caffrey (Billy Elliot, The Last Ship, The Pitmen Painters), Chris Connel (The Pitmen Painters, Cooking With Elvis, Close The Coalhouse Door), Jackie Lye (Wet House, Leaving, Strippers), David Nellist (Love It If We Beat Them, War Horse, Billy Elliot), Lara Farakish-Wake and Riley Jones (Vera, Wet House, Cooking With Elvis).

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. Directed by Jack McNamara and starring Roger Allam (Game Of Thrones, Murder in Provence, Les Miserables), Dean Bone (Love it If We Beat Them, The Red Lion, TheTerminal Velocity of Snowflakes), Claire Morley (The Chatterleys, Macbeth), Rebecca Saire (Nicholas Nickleby, The Crucible, Vanity Fair), Jack Lloyd (Notice To Move, Grubbins Wood, Peggy Pearpot) and Maya Torres (Pints, The Fear, Endo The Line).

Joe Douglas directs Live Theatre’s flagship play The Filleting Machine by Tom Hadaway which will be read alongside Alex Oates’ The Filleting App, an update on the story for the digital age on Sunday 16 April. The cast includes Laura Norton (Emmerdale, A Nightingale Sang in Eldon Square, Nativities), Jude Nelson (A Way Home, Isolation, Rocket Girl), Jake Ashton-Nelson (Barnbow Canaries, Vera), Soroosh Lavasani (The Kite Runner, Our Laygate, Peter Pan Goes Wrong) and Adam Sina (The Filleting Machine, Hollyoaks, Silent Witness).

Renowned Middlesbrough playwright Ishy Din returns to his breakthrough, razor-sharp play Snookered on Friday 21 April, directed by Paul James. Set in a snooker hall, a group of young men meet to commemorate the death of a friend. Providing a timely window into the lives of these men are Umar Butt (Tin Foil Astronaut, HOME, What Is Love: These Are Our Neighbours), Shahbaaz Khan (Doctors, Macbeth, Road), Soroosh Lavasani (The Kite Runner, Our Laygate, Peter Pan Goes Wrong) and Robin Ravi (Santa Must Die, His Name Was, Welcome To The Jungle).

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. Performed by the  original cast members Charlie Hardwick (Ackley Bridge, Emmerdale, The Last Ship), Joe Caffrey (Billy Elliott, Haddock & Chips, The Last Ship), Donald McBride (A Nightingale Sang In Eldon Square, Tales From The Backyard, Close The Coalhouse Door), Sharon Percy and Trevor Fox (Ocean at the End of the Lane, The Pitmen Painters, The Jungle).

Artistic Director 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. It’s 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 are on sale now. Find out more and book here or via Box Office on (0191) 232 1232.


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


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