Alison Carr's first full-length play at Live

Published: 27 February 2016
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Alison Carr Credit: Ian Forsyth

Newcastle’s Live Theatre’s first in-house production this season is local writer Alison Carr’s play Iris which will run at the Quayside venue from 6 to 30 April.

The play is a three-hander that follows the relationship of sisters Julie and Ruby who are coming to terms with the death of their mother Iris. This formidable matriarch manages to control their lives from beyond the grave. On the night of the funeral, Julie gets off with Gerry, a crime scene cleaner, but when their mother's unusual bequest unearths a story that leaves some indelible marks, something more than a deep clean is needed.

Although Carr first worked with Live in 2002 and the theatre has presented numerous short pieces by her, this will be her first full-length play to be performed at the venue.

In 2002, she assisted Jeremy Herrin in directing Double Lives by Julia Darling and Sean O'Brien and in the same year wrote her first short play for the company called Yellow (part of Short Cuts), which was also directed by Jeremy Herrin.

Since then, she has gone on to write numerous plays for Live Theatre including Come to Where I'm From (Paines Plough), The Girls From Poppyfield Close, When It's Gone (part of nabakov's Present:Tense) and Ten Tiny Tyneside Plays. She has also worked with Live Theatre's Education and Participation team as a dramaturge for their Write Stuff programme, which works with young people still in education to develop their writing and literacy skills.

In 2013, she won Live Theatre's 40th Anniversary Bursary for her one-woman show The Soaking of Vera Shrimp which was presented at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. She is also a member of the Traverse 50 group of writers.

"Alison Carr has a distinct and individual voice as a playwright: witty, quirky and engaging,” said Live Theatre's Literary Manager Gez Casey. “Following her previous work for Live Theatre, including The Girls From Poppyfield Close and The Soaking of Vera Shrimp in our Studio Theatre, I'm delighted that audiences will be able to see her first full commission in the Main House."

Iris was first seen at Live Theatre under the title The Day We Rode the Shuggy Boat when a short extract was presented at the theatre in 2012 as part of the final Short Cuts event.