The Queen’s Hall Arts Centre in Hexham has announced its Autumn season, including a magical new retelling of family favourite The Wind in the Willows which will premiere in Hexham in December before being performed at The Alnwick Garden next summer.
Artistic Director Katy Taylor said:
“It’s been a joy to reconnect with our local community at live events since we reopened. We’ve been listening to our audiences and we’ve lined up an autumn season we hope they’ll love, packed with North East talent and stories alongside some of the UK’s best touring theatre companies, live music, stand up comedy and family shows. Plus, there’ll be lots of things for people to get involved in, including an opportunity for young people to perform in our main stage Christmas production for the first time.
“During lockdown we worked hard to make our building more accessible, so it’s a real pleasure to present shows like Icarus Theatre’s The Lesson which uses new Creative Captioning technology for deaf and hard of hearing audiences, and to welcome the Lawnmowers to Hexham for the first time, a brilliant North East theatre company run by and for people with learning difficulties.”
Theatre highlights include new productions made in the North East alongside acclaimed touring companies, plus a brand new Christmas show for Northumberland audiences, co-produced by Queen’s Hall Arts, Alnwick Playhouse and Alnwick Gardens.
The Wind in the Willows
Adapted by award-winning playwright Mike Kenny and directed by Alnwick Playhouse Artistic Director Damian Cruden, The Wind in the Willows will premiere at the Queen’s Hall from 10-31 December before being performed at The Alnwick Garden in Summer 2023. This magical retelling of a family favourite combines all the joy and mystery of Kenneth Grahame’s much-loved classic with the lightness of touch and playful theatricality that playwright Mike Kenny is best known for.
With music by acclaimed composer for stage and screen Christopher Madin, this journey through the seasons to the great battle for Toad Hall is a Christmas treat for all ages. Alnwick Playhouse Artistic Director Damien Cruden said:
“It’s great to be working alongside the Queen’s Hall and The Alnwick Garden to create this fantastic new version of The Wind In The Willows. Drawing on the creativity of the region, a young people’s company of stoats and weasels will help us to create a memorable trip to the theatre for the whole family.”
And there’s more in the Autumn programme
Caroline Burrows’ one-woman poetry show Turning Pedals Into Poems which she’s touring to rural locations sustainably by bike comes to Hexham on 13 September. And staying in the great outdoors, These Hills Are Ours by award-winning theatre maker Daniel Bye and Chumbawamba founding member Boff Whalley brings together story and song in a collaboration about escaping it all by running to wild places on 14 September, produced by ARC Stockton.
Taking back films made about learning disabled people made without learning disabled actors, Gateshead’s Lawnmowers Theatre Ensemble – a theatre company run by and for people with learning difficulties – question Hollywood’s casting in their empowering new show Retake, Remake on 20 September.
Award-winning Durham-based Elysium Theatre Company bring Ibsen’s landmark drama about marriage, love and the need to be true to yourself to Hexham on 28-29 September in a new production of A Doll’s House. Their fifth production for Queen’s Hall Arts, the show reunites the cast for Miss Julie, which won Best Revival In The North East in the British Theatre Guide in 2019.
My Voice Was Heard But It Was Ignored (6 October) is an urgent interrogation of racial identity from acclaimed national touring theatre company, Red Ladder.
Following sold out shows and an international tour, Icarus Theatre’s blistering and award-winning dark comedy The Lesson comes to Hexham on 9 November, with a dynamic projection design that features exciting new Creative Captioning technology to ensure that every performance is accessible for deaf and hard of hearing audiences.
Alnwick Playhouse and Elysium Theatre Company present Steve Byron’s Reiver – Tales from the Borders on 30 November, an evening of theatre steeped in the folklore and history of the North East starring Micky Cochrane (add show), Steven Stobbs (add show) and Karen Traynor (add show).
There’s live music from Northumberland’s The Unthanks (23 October) with their live 11 piece band, to mark the autumn release of their new album, Sorrows Away; award-winning Teesside folk duo Megson (24 October) bring their brand new album Unknown Waters; from Leeds, The Belgrave House Band (17 November) reimagine classic albums, taking on one of the most critically acclaimed, highest grossing albums of all time, Rumours by Fleetwood Mac; and described by BBC Radio 3 as “a veritable musical magpie’s nest”, India Electric Company (29 November) been blend traditional instruments, folk melodies and subtle electronic influences.
For comedy fans, fresh on the heels of his critically acclaimed memoirs, Nailing It, Rich Hall comes to the Queen’s Hall on 17 September with new rants, knife-edge observations, thrilling musical interludes and a formidable knack for laughs on the fly. There’s a double whammy of stand-up comedy on 1 October when Britain’s favourite French comedian Marcel Lucont brings his award-winning comedy gameshow for kids Les Enfants Terrible to the Queen’s Hall at 2pm followed by his greatest oeuvres from the last decade at 7.30pm in Le Best Of, feating a live band. A regular on Have I Got News for You and QI, Mark Steel brings his fresh new stand up show to Hexham on 14 October. Expect the absurd in Milton: Impossible on 10 November, when Milton Jones reveals the truth about being an international spy before being given a disappointing new identity which forced him to appear on Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo.
Family shows include Meggie Magicia (5 November) – a magical show for 5- 8 year olds, and their families, by North East playwright Wendy Errington. Captain Calamity’s Halloween Spectactular (25 October) is a phantom-tastic family show from Guinness World Record Breaking Captain Calamity featuring magical mayhem, spooky science, beastly balloons and bursting bubbles that’s ideal for families and children of all ages. And North East theatre company Kitchen Zoo are back with a festive show especially for under sixes and their grown ups, The Three Bears at Christmas (14-24 December) – an adventure into the woods with original live music, puppetry and a tale you thought you knew.
The Queen’s Hall continues to have Covid safety measures in place to keep audiences, artists and staff safe including encouraging face coverings, hand sanitiser stations, extra cleaning and e-tickets to avoid congestion at the box office.
For more information or to book tickets visit www.queenshall.co.uk or call the box office on 01434 652 477.
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