Spring 2022 at Northern Stage

Published: 23 November 2021
Reporter: Peter Lathan

The Invisible Man
Red Ellen
2065 Credit: Richard Jarmy

Northern Stage has announced is spring 2022 season which will run from 1 February to 25 June. It comprises in-house and co-productions (including two which were originally planned for 2020 and were postponed by the pandemic) as well as shows from North East theatre makers. There will also be visiting productions from across the UK, including dance and shows for families.

In-house and co-productions

1–19 February
The Invisible Man
Adapted by Philip Correia from H G Wells’s science fiction classic
Directed by Newcastle-born director Anna Girvan and featuring four emerging North East actors: Izzy Ions, Jack Fairley, Kate Okello and Daniel Watson.
This new production investigates themes of exploitation, establishment power over truth and the conflict between power and morality, asking the question: who is really invisible in Great Britain 2022?

Touring to tour to theatres and community venues across the North of England from The Maltings in Berwick-in-Tweed to The Dukes in Lancaster.

4–12 March
By Lindsay Rodden
A co-production between Theatre of Sanctuary Curious Monkey, Northern Stage and Newcastle University

Set in Byker, HERE is a play about finding sanctuary in the unlikeliest of places and is part of Curious Monkey’s Arriving project—ongoing work with people who have come from all over the world to seek sanctuary in the UK.

25 March–8 April
Red Ellen
By Caroline Bird
Directed by Wils Wilson
A Northern Stage, Nottingham Playhouse and Royal Lyceum Theatre co-production which will tour to Edinburgh, Nottingham and York after its Newcastle première.

The play tells the story of Ellen Wilkinson, the revolutionary Jarrow Labour MP who led the Jarrow Crusade, served as a vital member of Churchill’s cabinet and battled to save Jewish refugees in Nazi Germany.

29 April–14 May
The White Card
By Claudia Rankine
Directed by Northern Stage's Artistic Director Natalie Ibu
A co-production between Northern Stage, Birmingham Rep, Leeds Playhouse and Soho Theatre, in association with HOME Manchester. Touring to London, Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham.
UK and European première
Written in 2019, through a conversation between a wealthy, privileged white couple and a talented black artist, the play explores uncomfortable truths about white privilege, cultural appropriation and representation.

“Claudia Rankine is an amazing thinker and writer,” said Natalie Ibu,” and, as a black woman, she has given me a language for my own experiences. The White Card is a really courageous and clever debate / play about the privilege of whiteness and the consuming of black trauma as art. Choosing to direct it feels like a provocation—to this building, this sector, this place. Northern Stage is a place to debate ideas, so I’m delighted that we can introduce an internationally renowned writer to the North East.”

Other shows from North East theatre-makers

You Heard Me (18–19 February) by Luca Rutherford is a true story about refusing to stay quiet, produced by ARC Stockton and co-commissioned by Northern Stage, the Albany, Battersea Arts Centre, Cambridge Junction and Theatre in the Mill.

Written by Lee Mattinson, whose most recent play Hares was shortlisted for the Bruntwood Prize, and performed by one of Northern Stage’s NORTH supported artists, Sam Bell, Happy Meal (17 June) is a story about an actor determined to find the comedy in her own tragic life by staging a musical in the Guantanamo Bay branch of McDonalds…

NORTH supported theatre company BRASH tackles the victim-blaming culture in Ankles (9–11 June), using poetry, movement and music to ask when we will stop teaching kids that it’s girls’ responsibility to keep themselves safe from sexual violence.

Hannah Walker’s Gamble (19–21 May) is a multimedia, bittersweet show about addiction and its effect on families, friendships and communities informed by compulsive gamblers’ personal experiences and interviews with industry experts.

Visiting productions

Sorry you’re not a winner (5–9 April) is a new play from Samuel Bailey for Paines Plough and Theatre Royal Plymouth about aspiration, social mobility and getting caught between class.

Rice (1–2 April) is a humorous observation on globalisation, politics and family by award-winning East Asian / Australian writer Michele Lee, directed by Actors Touring Company Artistic Director Matthew Xia.

Woke (10–11 February) from the creator of Black is the Color of My Voice Apphia Campbell and Meredith Yarbrough, is the Fringe First award-winning story of two women, 42 years apart, who become involved in the struggle for civil rights and is set to a soundtrack of original music and traditional gospel and blues.

Written by award-winning Nessah Muthy and directed by Stef O’Driscoll, Boundless Theatre’s How To Save The Planet When You’re A Young Carer and Broke (18 March) peeks into the life of a young working-class carer having to make decisions between life-saving responsibilities at home and being dedicated to save the planet in times of climate emergency.

Frozen Light’s 2065 (22–23 March) is a futuristic extravaganza for audiences with profound and multiple learning disabilities.

Y’MAM (25–26 March), an autobiographical solo-show from Majid Mehdizadeh (aka Luke Jerdy from Hollyoaks), takes on toxic masculinity in a story about love, appreciation and letting things go.

A fast-paced show written and performed by disabled actor Melissa Johns, Snatched (21–22 June) humorously champions female sexuality and fighting body shaming and the taboo of sex and disability, accompanied by a live '90s and '00s soundtrack.

Family shows

Zog and the Flying Doctors (3–6 March) is based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s bestselling book.

Pinocchio (25 February) is an original retelling of the classic children’s story for ages 3+ from Northern Ballet.

Oi Frog and Friends (21–24 April) is an Olivier Award-nominated, action-packed stage adaption of Kes Gray and Jim Field’s bestselling books for children aged 3+.

Aerial theatre show Aidy the Awesome (4–5 June) from the Gramaphones Theatre Company is for children aged 8+ and their families.


BalletBoyz' new show, Deluxe (11–12 March), showcases six young dancers in an explosion of dance, fused with film and behind the scenes content.

Featuring an eclectic selection of work by internationally acclaimed, award-winning choreographers, including former Artistic Directors and collaborators, 40 Years of Phoenix Dance (20 May) celebrates the company’s 40th birthday.

Infinite (24–25 June) is a brand new dance theatre meditation by Humanhood Dance Company.