First of all let me say—as I say every year—this is about the best of North East theatre in 2018. Except for one mention of the best visiting play, that means theatre produced in the NE. It can include co-productions, as long as the show was rehearsed and premièred in the North East. Thus it cannot include a production like The Lovely Bones, beautiful show though it was, which premièred at the Royal and Derngate, Northampton, and was a Northern Stage co-production with a number of other regional theatres, but the NE contribution was limited to financial support.

It’s also my pick of the best. I didn’t see every show produced in the region, although I did see as many as possible, but Helen Brown and Peter Mortimer also saw quite a few during the year, and there were a fair number we missed. But this listing is of the shows I saw.

And these are not awards; that would be a bit presumptuous, I think. There are no statuettes or specially created artworks, no certificates—not even a signed photograph of me (and who on earth would want one of them?) They are simply one man’s choice of the best things he has seen during the year.

So! Let’s move away from the boring bit! Forward to the listing!