Skip to main content

A Royal Court co-production, a world class horror story and Ishy Din takes on Muhammad Ali in Live Theatre's brand new season

Live Theatre in Newcastle has announced three highlight productions of its 2024-25 season, with The Bounds by Northumberland writer Stewart Pringle co-produced with the Royal Court, a first stage adaptation of the cult horror film Saint Maud by Sunderland writer Jessica Andrews and Middlesborough writer Ishy Din’s Champion about Muhammad Ali’s historic visit to South Shields in 1977.

Emerging from its star studded 50th anniversary year with a refreshed vision statement of A North East that writes its own story and fights for a more creative future, Live Theatre is on a mission to unearth the untold narratives from across the North East and tell a new story about the time and place we find ourselves in.

Live Theatre’s Artistic Director Jack McNamara said: “There are an awful lot of death knells being rung about the state of new writing at the moment. But as someone programming a new writing theatre I’m not seeing any decrease of ambition, ideas and energy. Times are tough yes, but there are writers out there with big things to say and our job is to make sure they can keep saying them, unfiltered. There is a powerful writer’s vision at the centre of each of these new works and I literally cannot wait to see them unfold.”

The Bounds by Stewart Pringle is an astonishing feat of imagination, set during a medieval  football game in a Northumberland village, as two young friends watch the boundaries of their lives being redrawn by ominous forces. The production will run at Live Theatre in Newcastle from Thursday 16 May to Saturday 8 June and then at the Royal Court in London from Thursday 13 to Saturday 13 July in the first co-production between the two leading new writing venues.

Jack McNamara said: “This was literally one of the best plays I have read in a very long time. It leapt off the page, totally alive and unlike anything else out there. I am delighted but also unsurprised that the Royal Court were dying to do it too. The writing will simply blow you away.”

The Bounds’ playwright Stewart Pringle said: “I’m over the flipping moon that The Bounds will premiere at Live Theatre this year. Live Theatre was one of the spaces that made teenage me fall in love with theatre in the first place, so to have brilliant Jack call up and say he wanted to direct it there - heart bursting. I wrote this play as a kind of dark, strange love letter to the countryside that I grew up in, so I’m thrilled we’re opening it in the North East. And then it’s going to the Court! What a ride, what a time, what a joy!” 

Saint Maud from Thursday 10 October to Saturday 2 November is an adaptation of the hugely successful horror film by Rose Glass. This seaside set story follows a young nurse who becomes increasingly obsessed with saving the soul of the terminally ill patent she is caring for, leading to a final, terrible act of faith. It is adapted by critically acclaimed Sunderland writer Jessica Andrews, best known for the novels Saltwater and Milk Teeth, in collaboration with Jack McNamara. New music for the production will be composed by major international artist Gazelle Twin.

Jack McNamara said: “There is a proper dream team behind this production. The film is astonishing and we are so honoured to be granted the world premiere rights. Jessica’s writing is among the most unique and powerful I have come across since moving to the North East. She has a way with words that is almost alchemical, and so I could not think of a better person to bring this frightening story to life. And Gazelle Twin is literally one of my favourite musicians over the last few years, so to have her score this for us is just immense.”

Saint Maud playwright Jessica Andrews said: “I am thrilled to be working with Jack and Live Theatre on this adaptation. Rose Glass' film is so compelling and visually arresting, and it's very exciting to have the opportunity to bring Maud’s dark and troubling story to stage. My work is often centred on the body, and it is so enriching for me to think about this within the context of Saint Maud, and the physical staging of a play. Gazelle Twin is such an incredible musician and performer, and her unsettling work is such a brilliant addition to the production.”

Champion by Ishy Din from Thursday 13 February to Saturday 8 March 2025 is set in 1977 during Muhammad Ali’s historic visit to South Shields and observes the effect of this event on two mixed race brothers fighting for their own sense of identity. Following Din’s seminal play Approaching Empty, this will be his first full commission at Live Theatre. 

Jack McNamara said: “Ishy is a singular force in our theatre culture and I have long wanted him to work with us. The play shines a light on Muslim experience in the North East, something that has been far too overlooked. I can think of no one better to grab such a big story and funnel it down to something with real impact and heart.”

Playwright Ishy Din said: “For me and millions of people around the world Mohammad Ali was a colossal figure. He meant so much to me, my family and my community growing up. He gave us a sense of pride, a value; that was hard to articulate but that was almost physical in its manifestation. If Mohammad Ali won, it meant we had won. To have the opportunity to write about the profound effect that such an icon had on shaping lives is both an honour and a privilege.

For more information on Live Theatre’s season and to book tickets go to

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