New shows for 2020 at Northern Stage

Published: 24 January 2020
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Artistic Director Lorne Campbell speaking at the 2020 season launch Credit: Von Fox Productions

In its 50th anniversary year, Newcastle’s Northern Stage has announced new productions for 2020 in addition to the previously announced spring season.

First up (10–23 September, then touring) is a new version of the H G Wells classic The Invisible Man by Philip Correia (Hyem at Theatre 503) and directed by Anna Girvan (Our Country’s Good at Bristol's Tobacco Factory Theatres). Exploring themes of exploitation, establishment and truth and investigating the conflict between power and morality, The Invisible Man questions who is really invisible in Great Britain 2020. This production is part of Northern Stage’s NORTH programme which supports and develops new talent in the North East.

Next comes Red Ellen (17 September to 3 October), a new play abut Jarrow MP Ellen Wilkinson, one of the moving spirits behind the Jarrow Crusade. Written by Caroline Bird, this Northern Stage, Nottingham Playhouse & Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh production will première in Newcastle before touring and will be directed by Wils Wilson (Twelfth Night at The Royal Lyceum).

Maria Aberg ([BLANK], The White Devil) directs a new production of Gatsby (7–17 October), taking the audience into a seductive and murky world of love, money and glamour. This is a Bristol Old Vic, Northern Stage, English Touring Theatre, Royal & Derngate, Northampton, Oxford Playhouse, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre production.

For Christmas, Northern Stage presents its usual two shows. For the under-6s, Kitchen Zoo returns with a new production, The Hey Diddle Diddle Christmas Spectacular (21 November 2020—2 January 2021), which will, as ever, feature original music and puppetry, while in Stage 1, Mark Calvert and the team behind The Snow Queen, A Christmas Carol, James and the Giant Peach and Alice in Wonderland are back with another magical festive adventure, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (28 November 2020–2 January 2021) in a new adaptation written by Laura Lindow (The War of the Worlds and The Snow Queen for Northern Stage, Woven Bones for Cap-a-Pie).

Speaking at the season launch, Artistic Director Lorne Campbell said, “The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff (the first spring season production, running from 4 to 22 February) is a fitting way to open Northern Stage’s 50th anniversary season; it is deeply personal, political and yet accessible at the same time. It sets the scene for the rest of our new work—hope is the thread running through the whole year-long programme; it’s about being empowered to change the world, whoever you are and wherever you come from.”