North East theatre in 2017 – a review

Reporter: Peter Lathan

Dateline: 2nd January, 2018

Looking forward

Money is still tight; co-productions are almost the order of the day, sharing production costs between more than one theatre, so in that sense the future is a little unclear, for one turkey could do major damage to a theatre’s bottom line.

But there are some real positives. I have been heartened this year to see how many actors, directors, playwrights, designers and producers turn out to support new work, not just in the “biggies” like Live and Northern Stage’s Stage 1 but in smaller venues like the tiny Stage 3 or Live’s Studio, and at Alphabetti which seems to have become almost a club for theatricals! At one show there recently I saw one playwright, a designer, a producer and numerous actors (including many of the cast of a major local production), along with quite a number of people involved in theatre admin, all enthusiastically supporting the work being shown.

And this happens often; not just at Alphabetti but at Live and Northern Stage and elsewhere.

There’s always been an element of support for shows from people in the business, of course, but it seems to me to have grown considerably this year, porbably because of that elusive (in politics anyway!) sense that “we are all in this together” which certainly pervades North East theatre.

And then two new theatre companies opened in Newcastle alone this year. People are wanting to make—no, they need to make theatre, in spite of the unhealthy financial situation—and they are doing it!

So, in spite of the financial gloom, there is light too!