Peter Lathan

North East Editor

Peter Lathan's first experience of theatre was at the age of 13 in 1956 when he played Marion in Sean O'Casey's Cock-a-Doodle Dandy, a school production in an all-boys school.

Since then, he has been deeply involved in all aspects of theatre. He directed his first production (a Chekhov one-acter, The Anniversary) while at university in 1966 and, as a playwright, his first play to be performed professionally (The Passion, a version of the medieval Mystery Plays) was produced in 1975.

He has directed more than 70 productions with school and youth groups and professional companies. Since the turn of the century most of his directing work has been with KG Productions, a company he founded in 1999. Work with KG has included theatre-in-education, corporate productions, new writing (the company commissioned, produced and toured novelist Chaz Brenchley's first play A Cold Coming) and touring pantos. In 2009, he was invited by the Customs House, South Shields to direct an open-air, site-specific version of The Tempest, the first in an annual summer Shakespeare in the Park event using an ensemble of some of the region's leading professional actors and in 2010 he directed Romeo and Juliet.

Most recently, he wrote and directed three Customs House community plays which featured a large amateur cast and musicians and a professional creative / production team. He also devised and directed small-scale touring productions of themed Shakespeare compilations.

He has written more than 30 plays, including a full-length musical, a number of pantos, touring TIE shows and corporate work for a wide variety of clients. He was commissioned to write and direct The South Tyneside Story for the Millennium Dome. His plays have been produced throughout the UK, and in the US, Germany and India.

Other writing includes It's Behind You: The Story of Panto (New Holland Publishers 2003). Between 1968 and 1980, he was a regular contributor to The Stage, Cabaret and Variety Revue and Musicians Only and had a two-year spell as theatre correspondent for BBC Radio Newcastle.

He taught drama in schools and with youth theatres, and has also done drama work with recovering addicts, adults with severe learning disabilities and run a two-year drama course for adults under the auspices of a local Adult and Community Learning department.

He has served on arts-related council committees; has done PR, front of house management and lighting design for the St David's Arts Festival as well as having appeared there as an actor and director; has done a range of drama workshops in primary and secondary schools and undertaken consultancy work, specifying equipment and design for school theatres and drama studios.

In recent years, under the auspices of South Tyneside Council, he ran an introductory course for would-be playwrights.

In 2016, he retired from directing but continued to write plays.

In the '70s, he was Chair of the board of management of the Wearabout Theatre Company, a professional company in Sunderland. From 2000 to 2009, he was a Trustee of the Customs House and from 2010 until 2017 was a Trustee of No Limits Theatre Company, a professional company for performers with a learning disability.

From 1997 to 2001, he was employed by (New York) to run a web site on British Theatre and set up the British Theatre Guide in 2001. He stepped down as editor in January 2012 but continued to act as North East editor until his death on 9 April 2022.





North East theatre after Christmas

Peter Lathan looks at when North East theatres are restarting after the holiday period.
Passionate People. Passionate Places.

The Best of NE theatre in 2021? Oh, come on!

A very different kind of year needs a very different kind of “Best of…” says Peter Lathan.
Passionate People. Passionate Places.

North East theatre in 2021

Peter Lathan looks back at theatre in the North East in 2021—“From nowt to quite a lot, really.”
The Auditorium exterior

Sunderland opens a new mid-scale venue

The 460-seat Auditorium at Sunderland’s Fire Station has opened with a special musical event. Peter Lathan was there.
The Pantomime: Harlequin

North East Christmas productions 2021

Peter Lathan lists all the professional pantos and other Christmas shows in the North East between late November 2021 and early January 2022.
The Ghost Light burning at Northern Stage

Back in a theatre—at last!

Peter Lathan talks about his return to theatre after so many months.
See It Safely

How safe are North East theatres after “Freedom Day”?

Peter Lathan looks at what precautions NE theatres are taking after the removal of COVID restrictions. (Updated on 29/7. Further update on 30/7)
Passionate People. Passionate Places

What’s to come in North East theatre

What’s to come is, of course, still unsure, but Peter Lathan takes a look at how North East theatres are preparing to re-open.

NE theatre in 2020, as seen from our house (mainly)

Peter Lathan tries to cheer himself up by taking a light-hearted look at the theatre year in the North East but finds it’s not that easy.
Arts Council England

Time to re-imagine theatre?

Fuelled by anger at the state of British theatre, Peter Lathan wonders if we shouldn’t take advantage of the pandemic to re-imagine what it should be like in the future.

*Some links, including Amazon,,, ATG Tickets, LOVEtheatre, BTG Tickets, Ticketmaster, LW Theatres and QuayTickets, are affiliate links for which BTG may earn a small fee at no extra cost to the purchaser.

Are you sure?