“We know that freelance performers, technicians and artists have really struggled while venues have been closed, and many people have been unable to access government financial support – so it’s vital that we do our bit to help. Christmas with the Hobs gave us an opportunity to bring together North East arts professionals to create a magical Christmas gift from Northumberland. We hope you enjoy it!”
As always at a retirement event, the people whom you have upset don’t come and you are offered an inflated sense of your own worth but basking in this illusion is pleasant. The more formal atmosphere enabled a much larger number of people to remind me in brief unscripted speeches of some episodes I had forgotten. I missed the opportunity for conversations with individuals. Asking people about their parent’s dementia, their child’s troubles, their bereavement, cancer, depression or divorce in front of an audience starved of entertainment by Covid-19 would probably be inappropriate, although I did not test this hypothesis.
After centuries of conflict
weapons are finally downed.
The cruellest disease has silenced guns,
until a vaccine can be found.
The trains are grubby and I crave
cold Asahi Super Dry from the trolley
In 1984 I found myself running an arts and disability agency for the north of England, and encountered the tail-end of the mass segregation programme that had resulted in millions of people with mild to severe physical and mental disabilities being locked away in large institutions, forced to do menial work for pocket money and with little say about any aspect of their lives. The arts activities that my organisation ran often opened up deep emotional scars from years of abandonment, disregard and abuse. Paintings, poems and performances were littered with powerful symbols of imprisonment and freedom.
The company – five actors and me – met up at 8am, shared themselves between the van and the one car (the producers would only pay expenses for one car) and off we went. By 9am we’re getting the set, costumes, sound system and everything else necessary into the venue, then we fit it all up and at 10am the show goes up. It comes down at 12 noon, when we take down, get out and drive to the next venue, which was Darlington. We get in, fit up, the show goes up at 2pm, comes down at 4pm, when we take down, get out and drive to the third venue, which just happened to be in Prudhoe.
Miss Trew organized performances in community centres, and many were done to raise money for charity. To date, Miss Trew’s school has raised thousands upon thousands of pounds for charities.
Pay It Forward: Northern Stage supporters gift festive show to schools, hospitals and care homes across the North East this Christmas
“It is an absolutely fantastic thing for Northern Stage to do this year when the children and schools have had such a hard year. We really appreciate it. It’s just such a kind and lovely gesture.” Karen Turland from Lobley Hill Primary School in Gateshead
Sad though it is that children, teachers, parents, grandparents, family and friends may well miss out on the inimitable traditional nativity, celebrated in the school hall, local church or community centre, all is not lost! The household tea towel drawer can rise to the occasion, and allow all those family members, who’ve ever wanted to don the occupants of its drawer, to do so – with a home-grown family production of a traditional school musical!
The North, chipped and scavenged in these standing stone days, does not fall asunder nor domino down in sight of barber surgeons with their slingshots, chippings. Long abraded by high seas, we stack lean as limestone, holding our breath like we have held our noses, impassive in the face of this flitting ephemera. We Danelaw […]
In the last two decades of diplomacy, perhaps the most successful move to thaw frozen relations has been a Friendship Tour to the secretive state by Middlesbrough Women’s Football Club.
yes man, yes man, three bags full of grass
Where you been lass?
You ate what? From a stranger?
It was out of the Harlequinade that pantomime developed, with all the character types we know today – but no Dame! She came into panto from the English tradition of women not being allowed to appear on stage. Her first appearance was not in panto at all but in the Mystery Plays of the 15th and 16th centuries. I always think that the first panto Dame was Mrs Noah from the Noah and the Flood story of The Mysteries.
“I’m very excited for people to see this show. I’ve never written a musical before but with the amazing work Jen Stevens has done, we have put together something truly special. Now more than ever we need to make sure the magic of Christmas stays alive and with this fantastic cast, I think we may have done just that.”
“We have become more driven towards raising money for the LGBTQ+ community and trying to increase their presence in the North East gaming and streaming environment. In going forward, we are hoping to set up SFST as a charity aimed at helping members and organisations of the LGBTQ+ family, with an interest in streaming and gaming, by offering them support and technical help. We also are looking to assist with micro grants to help get people set up and ultimately build a Northern Gaming LGBTQ+ Network”.
Children growing up in post-pandemic, recession-hit Brexit Britain will have many challenges as they face a shrinking job market, mounting debts and a future cut off from their European peers, denied the right to travel, work, live and fall in love across a union of what was 28 different countries.
At night, when the last train rumbles to the depot and the piston-draught dies down, the night shift keeps its silent hours; cleaning, repairing, watching CCTV screens of empty platforms, shutting down electrics with a key; trackwalking near Stockwell, where an engineer holds a Tilly lamp – he died in 1950 – and cowled monks […]
If you haven’t read it, Uwagba’s purpose in writing was to “sum up the tithes of co-existing with whiteness”. Fair enough, if I was black I’d be shouting too, but then she goes on “I just wanted to communicate the burden of whiteness, the mental and emotional trauma. This burden is placed on black people by the “progressive, liberal people that I interact with.” Wait a minute! The progressive liberals fighting racism and injustice in all its forms? Those liberals?
All I can say is that I was totally blown away by the enthusiasm, energy and vitality of the people involved. The songs were truly inspiring and there was a real warmth and compassion throughout.
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
We called you Auntie Anne in Worthing, 2 hours away, by the sea. I owe you a letter. I have one of yours from 2014, you’d been to The Nutcracker with the ladies from choir, had a Chinese, and were keeping busy because you have to keep going don’t you Alexandra? You’d say. Letters, about […]
Northern Stage and Kitchen Zoo are creating a new adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes. The new production will be streamed to your home from 12-31 December.
There’s very little happening in theatre – but just wait five minutes for that could change at any time as the government keeps changing its mind, knee-jerking to everything that catches our masters’ attention – so news and reviews are very thin on the ground, and as for writing new plays…
From Peterloo to Tolpuddle, Jarrow to Orgreave, there’ll be no further uprisings today sir, we read the press, know what to believe. The daily tales spin an almighty weave about who’s to blame, wouldn’t you say sir from Peterloo to Tolpuddle, Jarrow to Orgreave. We’ve learned when to smile, when to grieve and follow our […]
Following its festival launch, Tynedale Transformed is now holding a series of events throughout the winter called The Second Sunday, where they will hold events around a particular issue. The topic on Sunday 8th November is,” From the High Street to the Villages; Keeping our Communities alive”:
Plastic Glass is no stranger to the local live scene, having played sold out headline shows at venues such as Think Tank (Newcastle) and Independent (Sunderland) as well as supporting indie outfits The Snuts, The K’s and The Pale White. Now working with nationally acclaimed promoters Scruff of the Neck and This Feeling, the Sunderland four piece are travelling further afield, having already played shows in Leeds, Glasgow, Carlisle and Manchester this year before being cut short.
Each of the songs in the album contains a truth and a mood of our times. In their different ways they narrate the course of our lives since the referendum in 2016, and what is most remarkable, through their combined wealth of intelligence the artists offer us hope. Listen to ‘Tea with the Devil’ by Rosemary Schonfeld and you will smile at the clever portrayal of an urbane Devil who has pocketed the consciences of Prime Ministers and Presidents, or throw your arms in the air with delight as Mitch Benn sings all the things you ever wanted to say but didn’t dare.
Alphabetti Theatre’s Love from is a show for just one household/bubble (maximum 5) and runs from 3–24 December 2020 (excluding 6, 7, 13, 14 & 20) with various time slots available. A family/bubble tickets is £30.
Beware, beware the Trumpywump His skin is orange, he likes to pump, His teeny hands rub rounded tum And words come out of mouth and bum. The little white house in a deep, dark wood, Was where the Trumpywump lived, and he was not good. He was a mischievous redcap of goblin breed and on […]
How did the North East fare in the awards of grants for the cultural recovery Fund?