Actors, writers, producers and directors came together earlier this week to officially launch the compelling new programme of shows at the Northern Stage for the autumn season.
Audience members were thrust straight into the swing of things by a dynamic dance performance from Bonnie and the Bonnettes, before self-titled ‘stand up poet’ and compère for the evening, Kate Fox, guided visitors through the programme with a series of synopses, interviews and trailers.
And it is certainly set to open in style. Northern Stage will be joining forces with The Royal Court and New Writing North to present a selection of writing from the Royal Court Writers Group North between 4th–8th September, as part of their ongoing commitment to developing artists in the region.
Alice Sebold’s global bestseller The Lovely Bones is brought to life onstage for the first time between 9th–20th October. The uniquely uplifting story about life after loss captured the hearts of readers throughout the world when it was first published in 2002 and it is now set to do the same to theatregoers, thanks to Bryony Lavery’s stunning stage adaptation.
Originally written as a BBC radio drama by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood (2nd–17th November) gets a contemporary, technological twist under the direction of Elayce Ismail; a revival of the Olivier Award-winning play The Mountain Top, which tells the fictional story of Martin Luther King Junior’s last night on earth, will head to Northern Stage from 9th–13th October; and one of Shakespeare’s most evocative plays – Othello – will be in residence from 13th–17th November, in a masterful and strikingly modern depiction of lives torn apart by prejudice.
In terms of dance offerings, Northern Stage’s associate company balletLORENT are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year with After Dark (7th–10th November) – which offers an exclusive chance to experience scenes inspired by the ever-popular la nuit intime, alongside an exhibition of unseen photographs from their archives. Tangomotion, (25th October) features new choreography by world-class tango dancers; while Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist gets a contemporary, hip-hop reinvention in Tony Adigun’s production Fagin’s Twist (30th–31st October).
For young families, Tall Stories’ magical musical The Snail and the Whale will hit the stage between 3rd–5th October, inspired by the bestselling picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Dinosaur World Live (22nd–24th October) is set to feature remarkably life-like dinosaurs; while Egg and Spoon (22nd–24th October) is a gentle introduction to the magic of theatre for children aged 1–5 years.
Comedy and spoken word shows include The Guilty Feminist on 17th September – a live recording of Deborah Frances-White’s podcast – which has been described as ‘screamingly funny’. There’s quick wit from Kerry Godliman on 29th September, and the Great Northern Slam arrives on 4th October, when 16 of the best slam poets in the North will each have just three minutes to wow the audience.
Northern Stage’s intimate Stage Three programme features an eclectic mix of theatre, comedy, spoken word and poetry. New work from Alif, an independent collective of playwrights of colour, will be trialled on 27th September; Suicide Notes – a collection of stories, poems and black humour from Christopher Brett Bailey – will arrive on 2nd October; and the Edinburgh Fringe cult hit The Elvis Dead (Rob Kemp’s ingenious reinterpretation of the classic horror movie Evil Dead 2, through the songs of Elvis Presley) will hit the stage on 12th October.
And things certainly won’t be settling down before Christmas, with Northern Stage looking set to see in the festive season with aplomb. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is given a boisterous new lease of life from 1st December–5th January 2019 as it is reimagined for the roaring 20s; The Three Bears at Christmas offers up a festive adventure into the woods for younger children (27th November–5th January, 2019); and for grown-ups, The Suggestibles return with their entirely-improvised Christmas show Impro Pantso, between 13th–20th December.
A real stand-out moment of the evening was a fearlessly charismatic performance by Northern Stage’s Young Company. They delivered a witty, poignant and incredibly mature snapshot of life in Newcastle to give audience members a taste of what is to come from their offering to the Great Exhibition Of The North – Where Do We Stand? – which presents a kaleidoscopic view of their ideas about the city and will be performed at Northern Stage between 27th August–2nd September.
Tickets for most shows start at £10 and are on general sale now.
New season passes – offering savings of 20% when booking three, or 25% when booking five selected new season dramas – are also on sale now.
For full details or to book tickets see: www.northernstage.co.uk
Or call their box office on: 0191 230 5151