Theatre

Haunted by the Border Readers

Imagine sitting in a comfortable rural venue, lights turned low and a bar…and listening to stories being read to you by a wonderful and talented group of professional actors…

That is what’s on offer this week in beautiful Northumberland…Humshaugh and Felton to be precise.

Haunted is a delicious collection of ghost story readings for Halloween performed by Border Readers, founded by Stephen Tomlin in 2018.

Stephen says:

“From touring Haunted in the past, before Covid struck, we quickly discovered that many adults secretly love being read to. Providing the ambience and setting is right, they warm to the live audio experience.

“Many people are used to bedtime reading with children or grandchildren so it’s clearly a welcome treat to have experienced actor/readers do the same for them. Our lovely rural venues are great at making people at home.

“With lights turned down low, seated cabaret style (in relatively covid secure bubbles round tables) and the presence of a bar all seem to help create the right atmosphere to guarantee a happy listening environment for adults and older children alike.

“We’re particularly excited to be part of a live performance experience one again, interacting with audiences in these two great venues at the heart of their village communities.”

Stephen is joined by Newcastle based Janine Birkett who will be narrating a moving short story by award winning poet and short story writer Kate Clanchy. The Wall is an absorbing tale of family love and redemption set at Housesteads Roman Fort, where Kate was writer in residence for English Heritage during 2017.  

Janine Birjett
Stephen Tomlin
Grace Kirby

Janine spent her early career touring with Northumberland Theatre Company before joining the Northern Stage Ensemble and going on to perform in major repertory theatres. She was Byker Grove parent Maggie Watson and played Jenny Elliot, Billy’s Mam, in the film of Billy Elliot. TV appearances include Vera, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks, Holby City, The Royal, Inspector George Gently and Coronation Street as well as BBC radio dramas. Janine has narrated over 40 audio-books, including several by Vera author Ann Cleeves.

In Haunted, Stephen Tomlin brings to life Edith Nesbit’s gloriously gothic Man Size in Marble and Grace Kirby reads a gripping ‘ghost in the machine’ story Safe as Houses by Christine Poulson.

Haunted is at Humshaugh Village Hall on Thursday 28 October and at Gallery Forty5, Felton on Saturday 30 October.

You can find out more here.

The stories are suitable listening for all curious adults and children over 10 years.

North East Bylines is delighted and honoured that both Janine Birkett and Stephen Tomlin regularly record audio versions of our stories.

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