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What's on in the North East

Published: 10 March 2019

Opera North returns to Newcastle Theatre Royal this week with The Magic Flute (Tuesday and Friday), Katya Kabanova (Thursday at 7:00) and a double bill of The Rite of Spring (Phoenix Dance) and Gianni Schicchi (Saturday at 7:30).

In Stage 3 at Northern Stage on Wednesday at 7:30 Vivid Theatre Company presents Bizarre Love Triangle: a verbatim play about OCD as part of Brain Awareness Week 2019 in conjunction with the Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University. It’s the things that happen in your mind affecting what you do physically. On the same day at 7:45 in Stage 2, stand-up poet Kate Fox and actor Joanna Holden perform a comic show about the real Northern Powerhouse, Northern Women—the sung and the unsung—Where There's Muck There's Bras. Finally in Stage 3, all three performances of children’s show Twinkle Twinkle are sold out. There are melodies that live in all of us. No one knows that more than Marty the puppy, whose songs and play-time with his Dad are the best part of his day. But sometimes, you have to learn how to find the music inside yourself…

At Live Theatre from Thursday to Saturday, Box of Tricks presents SparkPlug, an exploration of family, race, identity and love, through the story of a white man who becomes the adoptive father, mother and best friend of a mixed-race child.

It’s a busy week at Alphabetti. On Wednesday, Steven Arran presents Shakespeare's Speakeasy, a Shakespeare play staged in a day by people who didn’t know each other beforehand. On Thursday, experimental performance night FLIM NITE returns to Newcastle to retell classic films the only way they can: nonsensically, outlandishly and with wild-eyed enthusiasm. Imagine what Flash Gordon (1980) would look like chewed up and spat out by comedians, theatre-makers, writers and musicians. Then from 8:00 to midnight on Friday, it’s the Curious Arts Fundraiser, a queer cabaret where the party doesn't stop until midnight. Finally on Saturday, it’s the March Write Faster in which three writers write a brand new play in front of the audience, whilst it’s being performed.

On Saturday at Dance City, Scottish Dance Theatre presents Velvet Petal which, inspired by the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and the polaroids of Robert Mapplethorpe, transports the audience to a world inhabited by tough girls and pretty boys who live life on the margins.

Ghost the Musical runs at Sunderland Empire from Tuesday to Saturday.

At Arts Centre Washington on Wednesday, The Pantaloons present their version of The Odyssey, in which stranded Trojan War hero Odysseus must struggle against the odds to get home to his wife; but can he battle his way through grumpy gods, naughty nymphs, monocular monsters and over a hundred sleazy suitors? All whilst wearing an Ancient Greek robe that looks suspiciously like a bedsheet?

From Wednesday to Saturday, The Customs House revives its popular production of When the Boat Comes In which premièred in August last year in anticipation of the second instalment coming up in September.

On Thursday at 4:15, children’s show Elmer the Patchwork Elephant comes to The Maltings in Berwick. Elephants, as everyone knows, are big, have trunks, and are grey. But Elmer is a patchwork of brilliant colours. His fun-loving and cheerful personality keeps everyone in a playful mood, until the day he gets tired of being different and tries to blend in with the herd.

On Monday in the Green Room at the Queen’s Hall in Hexham, Tensile Strength (or How to Survive at Your Wit's End), written and performed by Holly Gallagher, is a show about stress and figuring out why so many of us feel it to an unhealthy degree. Then on Wednesday and Thursday in the theatre, Elysium Theatre Company premières its new production of Strindberg’s Miss Julie.

Elmer the Patchwork Elephant comes to Playhouse Whitley Bay on Saturday at 1:30 and 4:30.

Perfect Fools’ production of I, Malvolio comes to The Witham in Barnard Castle on Thursday at 7:30.

From Tuesday to Saturday, the touring production of Blood Brothers comes to Billingham Forum.

The Pantaloons brings The Odyssey to Middlesbrough Theatre on Friday.

Rox, Paper and The Scissors, a fast-paced and sometimes silly show about Democracy for 9+ year olds (ideal for years 5, 6 and 7) aimed at schools but open to everyone, comes to Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre on Friday at 10:00.

Kaleidoscope by Filskit Theatre, a show for babies of 6 to 18 months, is inspired by research into how a baby’s sense of sight develops and how they instinctively begin to categorise colour. It runs at The Hullabaloo in Darlington from Wednesday to Saturday (various times: some of the performances are already sold out).

Rox, Paper and The Scissors comes to the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond on Tuesday at 6:00 and then on Friday, Rhodi Miles performs Gareth Armstrong's Shylock, the tragic, funny and often unbelievable life of fiction's most famous Jew.

SparkPlug comes to The Studio at Harrogate Theatre on Monday and Tuesday. Then in the Theatre on Wednesday and Thursday, the Apollo Theatre Company presents three classic episodes of Hancock’s Half Hour. On Thursday in The Studio, Unsung explores the untold stories of four pioneering and inspirational female figures from the past, asking why they, and hundreds like them, have been relegated to the footnotes. (This show is sold out.) Finally on Saturday at 1:00, 3:00 and 5:00, also in The Studio, Rabbit Girl & The Search For Wonder is a new family show with music, animation and puppetry.

Peter Lathan