A magical Christmas show in Hexham

Published: 30 September 2021
Reporter: Peter Lathan

The Remarkable Robin Armstrong’s Extraordinary Christmas Adventure Credit: Lisa Kirkbride
Elijah Young
Mark Calvert Credit: Topher McGrillis
Jeremy Bradfield in The Emperor's New Clothes at Northern Stage Credit: Von Fox Promotions
Martin Hylton
Mark Calvert and Jeremy Bradfield in rehearsal for The Emperor's New Clothes at Northern Stage

Hexham’s Queen’s Hall Arts has announced the creative team for its 2021 Christmas show, The Remarkable Robin Armstrong’s Extraordinary Christmas Adventure, the story of Robin Armstrong, an adventurous young girl obsessed with all things magic who lives in a northern mining village famous for its fairytale and folklore where she discovers magic and the power of friendship. But can she save her Grandma just in time for Christmas?

The play is written by Elijah Young, an Associate Artist at Live Theatre Newcastle where his writing was first performed. He was 2019 Young Writer in Residency at the Customs House Takeover Festival where his play Isolation premièred, then transferred to Alphabetti and led to his being named the British Theatre Guide's Most Promising Newcomer in 2019. He was recently selected to be a part of the BBC North East Writers development programme.

“Writing this show has been so much fun,” he said. “It's a modern fairy tale that will give you all the Christmassy feels and you will fall in love with our main character. It’s for kids but most definitely for adults too—there's something for everyone, and it's the kind of show you want to go as a family to watch. And it's magical, who doesn't love a bit of magic?! I can't wait to share it with audiences at the Queen’s Hall!”

The director is Mark Calvert who spent many years at the helm of a string of hugely popular Christmas plays for young children and then, in 2015 with James and the Giant Peach, took over directing the main Christmas family show in Stage 1.

Calvert brings two regular members of his Northern Stage Christmas shows to this production, musician and actor Jeremy Bradfield as sound designer and musical director and Martin Hylton, rehearsal director at Phoenix Dance Theatre and Gateway Studios Artistic Director, as movement director.

The set and costume designer is Amy Watts, whose credits include The Hound of the Baskervilles at Northern Stage and West End Girls at Live Theatre.

There is no casting as yet; it is expected that the cast will be announced in October following an open casting call for North East actors.

“We’re delighted to welcome local families back to the Queen’s Hall this Christmas with a magical festive show for the whole family set in the North East,” said Katy Taylor, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Queen’s Hall Arts. “And we’re really excited to be working with such a brilliant team and our co-producers at Alnwick Playhouse to create Remarkable Robin here in Hexham; our audiences are in for a real treat!”

The Remarkable Robin Armstrong’s Extraordinary Christmas Adventure is at the Queen’s Hall from 10 to 28 December and is suitable for all ages. Tickets start from £12, early bird tickets are on sale from 30 September to 4 October. For more information or to book tickets, visit the Queen's Hall web site or call the box office on 01434 652 477.