The Kids Are Alright in Byker

Published: 22 October 2020
Reporter: Peter Lathan

The Kids Are Alright Credit: Jen Malarkey

Originally a stage play written by NE writer Lee Mattinson (The Season Ticket, Chalet Lines, Me and Cilla) , The Kids Are Alright has been reimagined by him and director Jen Malarkey (Choir, which was also written by Mattinson)) as an outdoor performance for a 'socially distanced' audience in housing estates in London and Newcastle. It was co-commissioned by Fuel and The Place, in partnership with The Albany, Lewisham Homes, Camden People’s Theatre, Northern Stage and Byker Community Trust.

The show will be performed at various locations around Byker for residents to experience from their homes, balconies or gardens while listening on headphones. There will also be a digital livestream.

Northern Stage has a long term commitment to working in Byker. The company’s main rehearsal space is next to Byker Primary School and Northern Stage plays a lead role in the Byker Children and Young People’s Partnership (BCYPP), a pioneering initiative comprising almost 50 organisations working together to raise aspirations, enrich lives and achieve social change.

“Having worked in Byker over the last two years, I’ve really got to know residents,” Mattinson said, “so I can’t wait to bring The Kids Are Alright to its streets. To reimagine the show for a community I’ve come to feel so at home in is a joy. Not only does this new site-specific version dance the same dotted line between comedy and tragedy as the original stage production but there’s something delicious in creating a live performance exclusively for residents on the Estate.”

The Kids Are Alright explores the extraordinary grief of losing a child. At a time when we are all experiencing loss and grief in multiple and varying ways, this project aims to provide a space to explore those feelings safely and with lightness and humour. It is performed by Carl Harrison and Janet Etuk.

Byker residents can watch The Kids Are Alright at 5:00 and 8:00 on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 November. The event is free and headphones will be given out prior to each performance along with hot food provided by Food Nation. The free livestream will be available to watch at 5PM on 10 November on Facebook.