New NE company revives classic local play

Peter Lathan

A new North East theatre company, Blowin’ a Hooley Theatre, is to tour Tom Haddaway’s classic 1980s play The Filleting Machine around the region.

Haddaway’s plays are based on the people he met while working on the North Shields Fish Quay and The Filleting Machine, set on The Ridges Estate (now The Meadow Well) in North Shields in the 1980s, centres around the Rutter family. Ma wants her children to aim for more than she had and Da believes his way of life as a fish filleter is good enough. When Davy’s new job threatens his father’s livelihood, the family’s financial survival is uncertain and with it Da’s conviction that he is right.

The first performance of the seven-venue tour will be in The Meadow Well itself, at The Cedarwood Trust’s Drop-in Centre, on 25 May, bringing the play back to its roots.

Blowin’ a Hooley are actors Micky McGregor and Harriet Ghost and director Catherine Scott. For The Filleting Machine, the company’s first production, they are joined by two young up-and-coming NE actors, Erin Mullen and William Wyn Davies. The company’s aim is to tell authentic North East stories and reach audiences who do not usually attend theatre or engage in the arts.

“We’re excited to be able to bring Tom Hadaway’s play to audiences in North and South Tyneside,” said Scott. “Despite the fact it was written thirty years ago, the issues it explores are still relevant today. We were honoured when the Hadaway family gave their permission for us to perform the play. For us, it’s the perfect way to show what we’re about as a theatre company and we’re really looking forward to seeing the audience’s reaction.”

Pauline Hadaway, the playwright’s daughter, said, “myself and my brother John feel sure that Tom would be delighted to see The Filleting Machine revived by a company committed to working locally with young local actors. Having responsibility for our father’s literary archive, we are very glad to see his work being acknowledged and kept alive. We are very much looking forward to seeing the finished performance.”

After the Cedarwood performance, the production tours to:

  • Low Lights Tavern, North Shields
    Thursday 1 June 2017, 8PM

  • The Exchange, North Shields
    Wednesday 7 June 2017, 2:30PM & 7:30PM

  • Wallsend Memorial Hall, Wallsend
    Friday 9 June 2017, 7:30PM and Saturday 10 June 2017, 7:30PM

  • Customs House, South Shields
    Friday 16 June 2017, 7PM

  • Byker & Heaton Union Club, Newcastle
    Saturday 24 June 2017, 7:30PM

  • Old Low Light Heritage Centre, North Shields
    Friday 4 August 2017, 7:30PM and Saturday 5 August 2017, 2:30PM & 7:30PM