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What is a Moaning Toad?

Published: 21 March 2019

Forget Kenneth Grahame, this Moaning Toad is a theatre company set up by three best friends who are also Newcastle University alumni.

“We have loved our time in this region,” Luke Bateman, Jack Hilton, and Chris Whyte say, “and have been collaborating with performers from all locations and walks of life for many years and now we aim to take the next step.”

And that step is to set up their own theatre company.

In February this year, Bateman’s play Something Less Deplorable, directed by Hilton, was produced as part of Playing Up 9 in Stage 3 at Northern Stage and in March in the same venue Moaning Toad and Newcastle University Theatre Society collaborated to produce their first play as a company.

Puncture, written by all three, focuses on three blossoming relationships as they stumble into each other's lives. Desperately searching for something to cling onto, the couples come to terms with the helpless spontaneity of falling in love. Meanwhile, in a darkened room, the threat of violence looms and the need to escape has never been greater...

“Peter Brook once said of theatre that, inherent in the living event, is a ‘dangerous electricity,’” said Whyte. “As we embark on our journey as a newly established theatre company our hope is that Moaning Toad will forever be searching for that ‘dangerous electricity!’”

They’ll be producing their second show in July and, after being performed in Newcastle, it will go to the Edinburgh Fringe.

Peter Lathan