The region has a great number of non-building-based companies which are developing new work on a regular basis.

County Durham

  • Durham's Hangfire Theatre produced Ibsen's A Doll's House and Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest at the Gala Theatre, Durham, both adapted by director Rory Stewart.
  • Mad Alice Theatre Company—based in Consett. Two shows this year: She Wins All the Races- A Tragicomedy with Biscuits (revival) and Rose and Robin (a Queen’s Hall Arts commission), a play for children to enjoy with their grandparents and parents, which is accessible across a wide age range but targeted at age 7 years and over, and their families.

Tyneside & Northumberland

  • Blowin’ a Hoolie—working with youth and community groups across Tyneside and looking to produce a collection of Yarns from Hyem in spring 2020.
  • Boyle Yer Stotts, based in South Shields, produced Everywhere We Go at the Customs House, their first work for 13 years.
  • Camisado Club—Bluebeard at Alphabetti in October.
  • Cap a Pie—works with researchers (to co-create at every stage of the research process) and with communities (e.g. with Hotspur Primary School to create Climate Change Catastrophe!). Also this year The Other City, a walking podcast. Cities today are so big, so complex and so busy that our brains have to shut things out just to survive. The Other City invites you to take those blinkers off—to see what we don’t usually notice, to pay attention to what’s really there.
  • Coracle—new writing, with a close relationship to Alphabetti—Down to Zero.
  • Curious Monkey—giving a voice to under-represented people and raising awareness of the issues that they face.
  • Greyscale—co-production of joey with gobscure and, in May–July 2020, touring Shandyland by Gareth Farr, a co-production with Northern Stage, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Oldham Coliseum and York Theatre, in association with Echo Presents and Matthew Schmolle Productions. Originally commissioned by the Old Vic.
  • Hands On NE revived and toured The Desert Queen by David Farn in April and May.
  • Ion Productions—as well as its usual Laffalang comedy sketch shows, Ion co-produced Bobby Robson Saved My Life with the Customs House and Quayside Productions of Newcastle.
  • The Letter Room—No Miracles Here at Northern Stage in February.
  • Northumberland Theatre Company (NTC) produced four shows during the year, two at Christmas (The Snow Queen on tour and Beauty and the Beast at the Dovecot Centre, Amble) and two other touring productions, The Stars Look Down and a revival of Dracula—The Travesty).
  • The November Club—as well as one-off events at places like the Lit and Phil in Newcastle, two shows this year: A Night of New Fairytales for Northumberland and Foods and Feuds: Two Cooks of Hexham.
  • Open Clasp—focusing on women’s issues; developing a new film, Sugar, which is expected in March 2020.
  • Quayside Productions of Newcastle co-produced Bobby Robson Saved My Life with the Customs House and Ion Productions.
  • The Six Twenty—producers of, among others, Mixtape at Live Theatre.
  • Theatre Space North East toured its puppet and live action production of A Christmas Carol to six venues throughhout the region in December, as well as open-air theatre in Sunderland parks and at Alnwick Castle.
  • Unfolding Theatre—Hold On Let Go at Summerhall, Edinburgh Fringe 2019, featured in Lyn Gardner's Edinburgh Picks, touring in spring 2020. A revival of Best in the World and a co-production with Gala, Durham, and Durham Student Theatre of Lord of the Flies.
  • Workie Ticket Theatre—a Newcastle-based female-led company, produced Women Warriors in 2019.


  • less is MORE—based in Middlesbrough, toured Miss Crispy 1988 by David Tuffnell, the show’s anniversary production in late 2019
  • ODDMANOUT—Darlington-based, its main production this year was a co-production with Alphabetti and The Worriers of Steve Byron’s Floorboards. It also co-runs The Foundry at Darlington Hippodrome, a training programme to create a strong and talented community company (16+) of theatre-makers, open to anyone over the age of 16 who wishes to train in contemporary theatre performance, regardless of previous experience or profession.
  • Steelworks Theatre Company and ts founder, playwright Gordon Steel have been working with various groups, incuding Stockton Riverside College, throughout the year.
  • Twenty Seven Productions (although it has its base in Newcastle, its heart is in Teesside!) has spent the year developing a new piece, Steel and Iron, which focuses on the history of Middlesbrough. A try-out before an invited audience was held in May at ARC Stockton.