Celebrating Durham Theatre

Published: 5 June 2020
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Durham’s Gala Theatre and Durham University's Assembly Rooms will join together in an online festival of local theatre talent, Onstage: Online, running on the Gala’s YouTube channel from Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 June.

Theatre companies and performing arts groups from around the county will present 16 shows from a range of genres, including comedy, drama, musicals and documentaries, selected from a large number of applicants. After their first performance, the shows will remain on YouTube.

“This current situation is an uncertain one for the performers and creative professionals whose careers rely on the region’s venues,” said Robin Byers, Gala Theatre manager. “So it has been really heart-warming to see how these same people have embraced this opportunity, and responded with positivity and great imagination. We can’t wait to share their new works.”

“The festival will have an exciting variety of performances so there will be something for everyone as well as a series of interactive workshops for you to get involved in at home,” added Kate Barton, head of student theatre at Durham University.

Highlights include:

Number Theory

A new play by Imogen Usherwood (8:00 on 11 June). It’s late. Evelyn has an exam in the morning. Luckily, Stella is here to keep her company, just like always—a companion since childhood, Stella is a reflection of Evelyn’s Generalised Anxiety Disorder. One night, an argument changes everything between them—things just can’t carry on like this anymore.

The Boy and the Seahorse

By Benjamin Storey in association with Interabang Productions (6.00 on 12 June). A modern Northumbrian folktale, based on the last generation of gas lamplighters of the North East, the ‘Learies’. Set in the 1899 and with a strong sense of place, tradition and adventure, the play takes the audience on a journey through the history of the Learie, the austerity of the region and the impact of the Sir William Armstrong movement.


A new play by NE writer Gary Kitching, presented by Durham-based Elysium Theatre Company. (6:00 on 13 June). Three voices, one mind, a single day. Three voices, three minds, a single day. How are we all connected? Are we separate or one? Do we feel the same, do we live the same, or are we different, existing in our private worlds? How do we interact in our individual isolations? Gary Kitching’s new play is a funny, poignant, haunting and moving account of how we live, and what it means to be human.


By Alison Carr (7:00 on 14 June). Sandra’s clothes have always told her—and everyone else—who she is. But when she loses her job and doesn’t have a uniform to put on, she loses her way. How do you show your inside out when you don’t know what your inside is anymore?

On 11, 12 and 13 June at 8:30, North East comedian Carl Hutchinson will headline with a series of exclusive 15-minute sets.

Amongst other participants are the North East Stephen Sondheim Theatre, Wrong Tree in Association with Durham University Film and Television, Less is MORE Theatre and Spies Like Us. The full programme can be found on the Gala Theatre web site.