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Right through to March at Live

Published: 1 August 2019
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Newcastle’s Live Theatre has announced its season from September 2019 to March 2020.

“Our new season is bursting with Live Theatre's own productions,” said Joe Douglas, Live’s Artistic Director, “shows created through our comprehensive Artist Development programme and some of the finest new plays touring the UK.”

The season starts with a revival of last year’s big hit, Clear White Light, written by Paul Sirett and inspired by the songs of Alan Hull and The Fall of the House of Usher, which will run from 19 September to 12 October.

Alongside the production, Former Lindisfarne band members Ray Laidlaw and Billy Mitchell, who appear in Clear White Light, will bring their own show, The Lindisfarne Story, to Live at 8:00 on Sunday 29 September and Sunday 6 October, following the 4:00 performances of Clear White Light.

September and October sees a season of Edinburgh Fringe hit shows:

  • Based on Cora Bissett's teenage diaries, What Girls Are Made Of comes to Live 4–6 September. The play charts the true story of her rollercoaster journey from '90s indie kid hopeful to wised-up woman.
  • Having won awards at both the Edinburgh Fringe and Adelaide Fringe, Build a Rocket comes to Live 2–5 October. Yasmin is a bright 16-year-old from a small seaside town. In an instant, her world is turned upside down when she becomes pregnant. Can the thing that threatens to ruin her life actually be the thing that saves her?
  • Trojan Horse, which follows the real-life stories of Muslim teachers and governors who were accused of plotting extremism in Birmingham schools, comes to Live on 15 and 16 October. In the play, adapted from the testimonies of those at the heart of the UK Government's inquiry, theatre company LUNG investigates what really happened. Live Urdu translation is available on both performances. A discussion with Professor John Holmwood, one of the expert witnesses in the Trojan Horse case, joined by a panel of experts, will take place after the show each night.
  • It's True, It's True, It's True tells the story of how a woman took revenge through her art to become one of the most successful painters of her generation on 22 and 23 October. Based on surviving transcripts, the play dramatises the 1612 trial of Agostino Tassi for the rape of baroque painter Artemesia Gentileschi and had a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018.
  • And a little later, on 11 and 12 February 2020, The Political History of Smack And Crack, described as "an angry, funny love song to a lost generation", chronicles the fallout for communities crushed by the heroin epidemic at the height of Thatcherism.

In November, comedian and activist Mark Thomas becomes one of Live Theatre's new Associate Artists and takes over the theatre for four days of workshops, talks, interventions and performances 14–17 November. He will present three shows:

  • A lecture Don't Tell 'Em It's Theatre reflecting on his career
  • A new work in progress 50 Things About Us looking at national identity
  • The Manifesto in which he creates a People's Manifesto with the audience.

He will also mark the first anniversary of the UN Special Rapporteur's enquiry into poverty in the UK with Reading the Report and hold a Public Conversation on Child Poverty.

As always, Live provides alternatives to panto for Christmas. Bonnie & Fanny's Christmas Spectacular (12–14 December) brings together Your Aunt Fanny, the all-female comedy sketch troupe which began life as part of Live's youth theatre, and drag trio Bonnie and the Bonnettes.

Then from 18 to 21 December, Mixtape, part sketch show and part music quiz, returns to help Live Theatre celebrate Christmas.

2020 begins with The Paper Birds and Live Theatre co-production of Ask Me Anything, which returns to Live from 30 January to 8 February after previewing earlier this year, ahead of its national tour. This immersive theatrical experience with live music, mischief and mayhem explores what different generations can teach each other.

New festival Queer and Now, 18–22 February, is a week of new plays celebrating LGBTQ+ stories and includes a work-in-progress reading of a new piece by Laura Lindow on 18 February, Riot Act telling three stories from the gay rights movement on 20 February and W*nk Buddies, which returns for two nights on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 February, following its sell-out run in Elevator Festival 2019.

Live's festival of up and coming talent, Elevator Festival, returns from 11 to 14 March, showcasing some of the best new theatre.

There will also be a full programme of visiting productions.