The Arts, and in particular Performing Arts, are crucial to an understanding of our times. Playwright Philip Correia’s new work is a masterful synthesis and exploration of those strands in our society which exist to the detriment of us all. It offers insights and lessons for all of us.
Correia has taken a new look at H G Wells horror fiction classic The Invisible Man, and re-cast this tale of devastation and uncertainty in modern Britain. Through the central character Griffin, a teenage boy who finds himself misunderstood and misrepresented, we see the ease with which a potentially creative young man can fall through the cracks in societal structures which are supposed to support him into adult life.
Griffin is a frustrated youth from the North East, with a troubled past and violent thoughts. He claims he has discovered the power of invisibility, but his ‘powers’ have caused him to be placed under government care. After all, an ill-educated kid can’t just invent invisibility. A young therapist, Dr Sarah Kemp, is assigned to draw out the truth from him as he threatens to embark on a ‘reign of terror’.
Creative team: Writer and Director
This is a timely and eagerly anticipated new work from a creative team with wide experience. Both Writer and Director are from the North East. Philip Correia, raised in Northumberland, has worked in London’s West End, the National Theatre, and Shakespeare’s Globe, Theatre Royal Newcastle, in regional theatre across Britain and theatres internationally, and in radio and film. Director Anna Girvan from Newcastle, trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, is a Royal Shakespeare Company Creative Fellow, and recipient of the Jerwood Assistant Director Award. Her directing credits are many and prestigious, she is co-founder of Juncture Theatre, has worked in TV, radio and film, and specialises in theatre.
Both are glad to be in the North East
“I’m delighted to be working back home … and especially to be reconnecting with the abundance of emerging talent based here.”
Anna Girvan’s enthusiasm is infectious:
“It’s a total dream to be returning to my roots to direct with Northern Stage, and with such an incredibly strong northern cast and creative team. After starting work on this play in 2019 we feel so lucky to finally be able to bring it to fruition in 2022.”
Creative team: Sound and Lighting engineers, Set and Costume design
Costume and set designer Aileen Kelly comes to The Invisible Man from the I weigh national tour. Sound designer and composer Jeremy Bradfield, who uses the invisibility of sound waves to add to the tension and uncertainty of the play on stage. They are joined by Claire Gerrens, lighting designer who regularly works with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and by Technical Stage Manager Rob Reed.
The Invisible Man on tour
We now celebrate our return as audiences to Northern Stage, but wonder at the collateral damage of theatre closures forced by a pandemic. It’s all too convenient for power and corruption to flourish under a cloak of viral invisibility. ‘What you can’t see can’t hurt you’ is an uncertain truism; but you might regret what you don’t see. I’ve just booked tickets to see ‘The Invisible Man’.
Premiering in Newcastle at Northern Stage from 1 – 19 February ‘The Invisible Man’ then tours theatres in the North until late March this year. For more details, or to book tickets go to Northern Stage, or ring the Box Office on 0191 230 5151 which is currently open 12 – 4, Monday to Friday.