What's to come is still unsure...

…But we can be pretty certain that 2019 will be a year of exciting theatre in the North East.

There’s some good stuff already planned. Hull Truck’s new take on King Lear, Jack Lear, comes to Northern Stage, and there are revivals of Trainspotting and Equus, a new version of Malory Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses from Pilot Theatre, a stage adaptation of Rain Man from the Bill Kenwright stable, a new piece (No Miracles Here) from The Letter Room and a co-production of A Thousand Splendid Suns with Birmingham Rep.

At Alphabetti there’s a revival of Enda Walsh’s Chatroom, an in-coming production of Trump the Musical and the theatre’s revival of its own Bacon Knees and Sausage Fingers, while at Live—who knows? Joe Douglas has yet to announce his first season. What we do know is that the National Theatre of Scotland / Live Theatre co-production of John McGrath’s iconic The Cheviot, the Stage and the Black, Black Oil will come to Live in June—and if that’s the quality of the new programme, it’s going be a good ‘un!

In my last annual review, in my final remarks, I said, “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” and that has not only continued but grown throughout 2018. To be honest, it is sometimes hard to get away from the bar at any of these three venues after a show—even just in time to get the last Metro home—without just waving a quick “hello!” to someone you’d been trying to get to talk to all night!

Budgets are still tight, undoubtedly, and making a living is, for NE actors, playwrights and freelance directors, a real struggle but their dedication is awe-inspiring and we can expect great theatre in 2019, whether it’s a hugely expensive West End show or a local production which probably cost less than the weekly petty cash float for the average West End producer!