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The women left behind

A PLAY which focuses on an aspect of modern warfare that doesn’t often grab the headlines is to embark on a national tour.

A PLAY which focuses on an aspect of modern warfare that doesn’t often grab the headlines is to embark on a national tour.

The success of Motherland, which is sub-titled Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Stories, was initiated by Steve Gilroy for Newcastle’s Live Theatre and theatre development agency The Empty Space.

A female cast of four play 16 characters, all the wives, mothers or girlfriends of service personnel serving in Iraq. Steve and the cast interviewed North East women and used their words to create the play.

After a very successful run at Live Theatre, Motherland was presented at Edinburgh Festival Fringe last year, winning a Fringe First Award from The Scotsman newspaper.

Helen Embleton was nominated for The Stage’s Best Actress award for her portrayal of Pat Long, from South Shields, whose son, Corporal Paul Long, was killed in an ambush in 2003 at the age of 24.

Writer and director Steve Gilroy said: “At a time when Britain is suffering its worst battlefield casualties since the Falklands, and with the death toll still on the rise, this topical production explores the impact of war on the families left behind.

“Motherland has been a phenomenal success and we’re all really excited that Live Theatre has joined forces with the Empty Space to take it on the road.” There will be two performances of Motherland at Live Theatre on September 17 and 18 before the play heads for Manchester, Glasgow and London.

For Live Theatre tickets call (0191) 232-1232 or visit


THE 23rd London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival is on the road and arrives at the Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle, today at 6.25pm.

The first film is Pedro (15), an American film directed by Nick Oceano and written by Dustin Lance Black, who wrote the screenplay for the recent and highly rated Milk.

It tells of Pedro Zamora, a Cuban immigrant, who was diagnosed HIV positive at 17 and took it upon himself to educate youngsters about safe sex. He died at 22.

Other festival films follow, this month and next. See


Best of the North East

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