Northern Stage reveals 2020 Christmas show

Published: 9 November 2020
Reporter: Peter Lathan

The Emperor's New Clothes

Constrained by the pandemic, Newcastle’s Northern Stage is uniting its usual two strands of Christmas programming into one this year. Normally there is a show for the under-7s in Stage 3, presented for the last two years by children’s theatre company Kitchen Zoo, and another in Stage 1 aimed at the wider family audience, directed by associate director Mark Calvert, but this year the two will be combined into one which will be filmed and streamed from 12 to 31 December.

The show will be The Emperor’s New Clothes, devised by Kitchen Zoo's Bob Nicholson and Hannah Goudie-Hunter, scripted by Laura Lindow, directed by Mark Calvert and designed by Kitchen Zoo's usual collaborator, Alison Ashton. Music will be by Jeremy Bradfield, who has worked frequently with both companies, and choreography by regular Northern Stage movement director Martin Hylton. It will be performed by Bob Nicholson, Hannah Goudie-Hunter, Jeremy Bradfield and Simmie Kaur.

It will be filmed by Meerkat Films, the company which shot Opera Sunderland’s The Soldier’s Return which premièred on Remembrance Day.

“It's been an extraordinary year for all of us,” said Calvert, “and to make something at the end of this extraordinary year is an absolute privilege. The team have been working hard over the last two months to create something that we hope will give our audiences some much needed Christmas cheer and end the year on some magic, and more importantly, some laughs.

The Emperor's New Clothes has to be the biggest con ever pulled in the history of story-telling. Two inept chancers—think Laurel and Hardy or the wet bandits from the classic Christmas film Home Alone—manage to convince an Emperor to go out in the 'all-together', exposing him in more ways than one. We feel it's a story so packed full of ridiculous moments, that to call it farce would be too tame.

“We wanted to tell this story in front of a live audience, and up until the new lockdown was announced that was always the plan. But this added obstacle has also brought other possibilities, and we're really excited about, along with the excellent Meerkat Films, producing the first digital theatre offer for Northern Stage.”

“We’re over the moon to be joining festive forces with Mark Calvert and Laura Lindow this year to devise a fantastically fun family show,” said Kitchen Zoo's Hannah Goudie-Hunter. “And we’re thrilled to be co-producing Northern Stage's first digital Christmas show.”

The Emperor’s New Clothes will be streamed online from Saturday 12 until Thursday 31 December. Tickets are £15 per household and go on general sale on Monday 16 November, with a 20% discount for bookings made by Monday 23 November. Northern Stage supporters and members can book advance tickets for £10 from Monday 9 November online on the Northern Stage website or at the box office on 0191 230 5151.