There have not, it has to be said, been as many new productions in the region as in previous years but there have been a lot of new developments—some hopefully promising great things—during the year. Here are the headlines:

  • After closing (as Darlington Civic Theatre) for refurbishment in May 2016, Darlington Hippodrome, the fourth largest theatre in the region with a new capacity of 1,000, reopened on 21 November.

  • Also in Darlington, the only theatre in the region dedicated to work for children and young people—and one of very few in the country—The Hullabaloo, opened in December.

  • Although it didn’t achieve 2021 UK City of Culture status, Sunderland opened two new cultural venues and work began on a new auditorium.

  • Three pop-up theatres came to the region during the year, in Darlington, Newcastle and Prudhoe.

  • Newcastle fringe theatre Alphabetti moved into new premises with a ten-year lease in September.

  • In theatre for young children, one initiative to tour to non-theatre venues throughout the North came to the end of its five-year funding but a new company was launched and set off on its first tour to similar venues.

  • There were major changes in staffing at Newcastle’s Live Theatre during the year.