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Coming to ARC this autumn

Published: 9 August 2019
Reporter: Peter Lathan

ARC Stockton has announced its programme from September to December. All shows start at 7PM and are Pay What You Feel. The highlights are:

This Is Not a Wedding

(4–5 September) A new production from Gracefool Collective in which the audience is invited to be guests at the non-wedding event of the year as Gracefool attempts to come to terms with coming of age in a high-pressure, low-tolerance, zero-hour contract society.

Prison Factory Cult Circus

(19 September) Raw and often surreal. Through circus, live music, story and the soundtrack of life in the North of England, Lucy dissects her past and delves into her family’s long-term relationship with risk. Between prison escapes, daredevil stunts, eloping to the other side of the world and the cult, it’s hard to pick the real black sheep of this family.

Alex and Eliza

(26 September) As a girl, she lived through the death and destruction of the 1947 partition between India and Pakistan, but now Zubair’s grandmother is like everyone else’s grandmother: old and wrinkly, slow in speech and speed. The separation, isolation and loss of that time are a distant memory. Now she makes her own olive oil and mango pickle and butter, sits in the afternoon sun brushing her grandchildren’s hair, knits sweaters for the winter and makes cakes. She had lived in the same house on the same street for 40 years of her life. Nothing out of the ordinary. Until she gets on a plane to visit Zubair, seven seas afar.

Terror from the Skies

(3–4 October) A new show from storyteller Matthew Bellwood about society, friendship and the things we hold dear about the places where we live. It’s a warm summer day in the local graveyard where we find Sheila who wants a new man, a new job and a new life but instead has found Joanne, a young mother with a passion for local history, and young friends Jake and Hasan who are skipping school. The balmy weather has brought them all outside. The trees are in leaf and the wildflowers bloom, while in the distance a light aircraft draws ever closer through the clouds. Unknown to all of them, terror is lurking in the sky.

The Kids Are Alright

(10 October) Created by Jen Malarky and Lee Mattinson and produced by Fuel and Encounter. A surreal and confronting new work combining dance and new writing, participation and performance, children and adults. When a day trip to the Natural History Museum turns to tragedy, one family is left as hollow as the cold bones of the blue whale. At home, they attempt to make sense of the unimaginable in ways as unpredictable as the incident itself. At the same time, with sound protective headphones and in an auditory world of their own, children storm the stage.


(15 October) Presented by Presented by China Plate and Staatstheater Mainz, written and performed by Chris Thorpe, developed with and directed by Rachel Chavkin. We all have a nationality. Or almost all of us. This is a show about someone who doesn't want his any more. About running away from the national story you're given. About who is responsible for that story and what might happen to it if you give it up.

The Chore of Enchantment

(23 October) Disillusioned by global news events, struggling with ‘magician’s block’, Vincent Gambini performs sleight-of-hand, whilst laying bare the hidden difficulties of being a conjuror in the 21st century. Is magic mere escapism, a distraction from urgent world problems?

And She

(7 November) Have you ever thought about who your mum was before you came along? Part gig, part their mums’ living rooms, Bonnie and The Bonnettes delve into motherhood, womanhood, and femininity through conversations with their mums, armed with three microphones, music and a bottle of prosecco.

Quietly Spoken Chaos

(12 November) What would you do if your nose started to bleed and wouldn’t stop? This is what happened to Grace Gibson one day during a really stressful time in her life. It made her think about whether she was okay or not and what the consequences might be of holding things in, both emotionally and physically, and it led to her creating this new show about holding it together. Blending music with movement and theatre, it takes a playful look at England’s ‘stiff upper lip’ and what can happen when you avoid saying how you really feel.

Plant Fetish

(20–21 November) Did you know that plants can reduce stress and increase well-being? When Chanje Kunda discovered this, she began to surround herself with them. She also learnt that some women in Mexico, fed up with men, were getting married to trees. After a series of dating misadventures, Chanje was inspired and surrendered to the notion of this different sort of relationship. She fell in love with fleshy succulents, venus flytrap, the twining of a creeper and the pressures of life drifted away.


(27 November) Ali is alone, but she isn’t lonely. She’s fine. She doesn’t know where she is, but honestly, she’s fine. She has a microphone and loop station and feels content filling time with roleplays and soundscapes, summoned from her own memories and voice. She’s fine. But she still talks to Kitty. The show combines new writing, performance and live looping audio to look at how loneliness can trick you into feeling content and the steps you can take to overcome it.

There are also three children’s show during the season.

Jack and the Beanstalk

(12 October at 11:30 and 2:30) Once upon a time, in a back garden not too far from here, Jackie and her Grandad Jack love to share tales of giants, castles and magic. That is until Jackie's adventure takes a turn for the worse. How can she tell stories to make her garden grow now that Grandad has gone? Then one day something quite out of the ordinary happens… a beanstalk appears! (For ages 3–8.)

The Three Bears

(31 October to 2 November at 11:30 and 2:30) Produced by Kitchen Zoo. Deep in the forest, Mammy, Daddy and Baby Bear are preparing for winter. Each day, the Three Bears head off into the woods to collect interesting things they can re-use for their house. But when winter arrives, their cosy home is turned upside down by a colourful whirlwind that threatens to sit in their chairs, eat their porridge and fall asleep in their beds—it’s Goldilocks! (Originally performed as The Three Bears at Christmas.)

Woodland Tales with Granddad

(23 November at 11:30 and 2:30) Something is happening in the woods, voices can be heard, and a strange metallic smell fills the air. Machines are gathering at its edge and a mysterious call is heard across the valley. Laura the ladybird, Jeffrey the spider, Brett the Woodlouse and Willoughby the Woodpecker are worried. Velda the Vixen knows there’s a person who can help them: Granddad. But is there enough time? Can they save the wood? And will the mystery stranger help? (For ages 3+.)

The Man Who Wanted to be a Penguin

(3–24 December: various times) presented by Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company, ARC and The Albany. The story of an extraordinary explorer, a curious conjuror and pioneering problem-solver. You’ll find him pottering in his shed; planning his latest mission. He is learning to speak Penguin and hopes that you will too. But when he arrives at the Antarctic, will its icy wilderness meet his excited expectations? Will the penguins’ reception be frosty, or will the colony welcome him with open wings?! (For ages 3+.)

Contact the venue for ticket prices for children’s shows.