In recent times ‘The North’ has come into focus in ways not seen for decades. With the new Conservative government winning seats across the north of England talk of investment and ‘levelling up’ have followed. Surely this can only be good for theatre in the North? Right?
However, what are the characteristics of Northern theatre and Northern new plays? Does the North have a specific character? Also, with a continued London-centric industry, and the still often felt need to move south to sustain a career, what is the future of Northern new plays?
Graeme Thompson, Creative Producer of Live Theatre leads an industry panel to discuss these questions. Joining him will be, Adam Quayle (Joint Artistic Director, Box of Tricks), Amy Fisher, (Creative Producer, Stephen Joseph Theatre), Luke Barnes (Playwright) and Caitlin Evans (Theatre Maker).
Adam Quayle: Joint Artistic Director Box of Tricks
Adam trained as a director at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. For Box of Tricks, he has directed Chip Shop Chips (National Tour 2018 and Northern Tour 2016); Plastic Figurines (New Diorama 2016 and National Tour 2015); Word:Play/NWxSW (Regional Tour 2013); Picture a City (Everyword 2012, Liverpool Playhouse); My Arms (24:7 Theatre Festival, re:play and Northern Tour); London Tales (Waterloo East and Nu:Write Festival, Zagreb); Head/Heart (national tour); Word:Play 4 (Arcola); True Love Waits (Latitude, Pulse, Nu:Write Festivals); Word:Play 3 (Theatre 503); Letting in Air (Old Red Lion Theatre); Word:Play 2 (Theatre 503); Word:Play (Union Theatre); A Hole in the Fence, Streetlights and Shadows (Time Out Critics’ Choice: Show of the Week) and Beyond Omarska (White Bear). Previous directing credits also include Earthquakes in London (ALRA North); JB Shorts 8 (Joshua Brooks); Anything of Worth (Pleasance & Bridewell); Homeland (Theatre 503); Underground Resistance (Hen & Chickens); and Among Unbroken Hearts (Cockpit). His assistant director credits include Translations (Best Production, MEN Awards 2003) and The Ghosts of Scrooge for Roger Haines at the Library Theatre, Manchester. Adam was a finalist for Channel 4 Theatre Directors’ Scheme, 2007-08, and Old Vic New Voices’ 24 Hour Plays 2008. He is a drama facilitator and a member of the Young Vic Genesis Directors’ Project.
Amy Fisher: Creative Producer Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
Originally from the North West, Amy was previously a Freelance Theatre Producer working primarily on New Writing and UK Touring. Producing credits include work with: Northern Stage (Newcastle), Box of Tricks Theatre Company (Manchester), The Bare Project (Sheffield), 20 Stories High (Liverpool), Theatre Royal Plymouth (Plymouth), Eastern Angles (Ipswich).
Luke Barnes: Playwright and Screenwriter
Luke Barnes is a Liverpool playwright and screenwriter; full length work includes: Freedom (Young Vic and Leeds Playhouse), Sad Club (National Theatre), All We Ever Wanted Was Everything (Bush Theatre with Middle Child), No One One Tell Me When To Start A Revolution (Hampstead Theatre), Chapel Street (Bush Theatre), Bottleneck (Soho Theatre with HighTide),The Jumper Factory (Young Vic), Lost Boys (National Youth Theatre), Cinderella (James Seabright & Not Too Tame), Katie Johnstone (The Orange Tree), The Saints (Nuffield Theatres, Southampton), Eistedfodd (HighTide), There Should Be Unicorns (Middle Child), LOVE (20 Stories High), Ten Storey Love Song (Hull Truck with Middle Child), The Class (The Unicorn with NYT), and Loki and Betty (Almeida Theatre).
Caitlin Evans: Theatre Maker
Caitlin Evans is a theatre-maker and producer from Newcastle currently based in London. She's founder and director of SHYBAIRN theatre company making collaborative, devised performance in support of social campaigns. TALK PROPA is their debut show made alongside a campaign to stop the prejudice against northern accents in the theatre industry. It explores the stereotypes imposed on northern women in particular due to their accent, in a truly northern f*ck you to the southern elite.
Graduate of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama's MFA Advanced Theatre Practice in 2019, Caitlin began TALK PROPA on her MFA which looked into Class, Accent and Identity in performance. She received Central's Start Up and Enterprise Award to launch SHYBAIRN as a company and is mentored by Katie Kerry of The Society of London Theatre and Abbi Greenland of RASHDASH. TALK PROPA was performed at VAULT Festival in February, where SHYBAIRN were recipients of The CULTIVATE Bursary in association with COMMON and The Newbury Corn Exchange. TALK PROPA was also shortlisted for the Les Enfant Terribles Award and The UNTAPPED Award with New Diorama, Underbelly and Oberon Books for Edinburgh Fringe this year.