If you’ve ventured downstairs at Northern Stage in Newcastle recently, you’ll notice that Stage 3 has had a bit of a facelift.
And it goes deeper than just a lick of paint, thanks to a new Fringe programme showcasing new work from regional and national artists, and an open door policy making the city centre venue a versatile, accessible space where young people and families can take part in a range of activities and which can serve as a space for local community groups.
Kylie Lloyd, director of participation at Northern Stage, explains: “We want our theatre to be a place for everyone and Stage 3 gives us an opportunity to invite groups who might have recently lost their space or funding to come and try somewhere new for free.
“We launched the project earlier this year with a call out on Twitter and were delighted with the response we got.”
Northern Stage is currently piloting this new approach with six community groups, including regular meetings for La Leche League, a breastfeeding support group, multicultural group Women’s Space and Twisting Ducks Theatre Company who are setting up a new drama group for people with autism spectrum disorders.
Jay Hare, Twisting Ducks project co-ordinator says: “Stage 3 is a perfect venue for us. The group have enjoyed meeting in a professional theatre space and the staff have been incredibly welcoming.” Northern Stage associate director Mark Calvert adds: “We’re creating a programme that feels connected to the city, with opportunities for people to come and watch and be part of a bigger debate about what’s happening in our region.
“This autumn we’re making a new version of Manifesto – Julia Darling’s last piece – asking people what they’d like to see for our city. And we’ve got some great shows lined up for the summer, including the chance to see new work by The Letter Room, Daniel Bye and some of the North East’s up and coming comedians, including Lost Voice Guy, before they head up to the Edinburgh Fringe.”
Stan Hodgson, from The Letter Room, is particularly pleased to have a slot on the new programme. He says: “Especially as we started out as Northern Stage’s NORTH programme, it’s wonderful to see the venue becoming a hub for smaller, really interesting, fringe theatre. We can’t wait to bring Five Feet in Front to North East audiences before taking it to the Edinburgh Fringe; we promise a proper raucous storm of a show.”
You heard it here first.
Kev Dosdale, aka Razmataz Lorry Excitement, is performing as part of the NARC night on July 18. He says: “Working with visuals and bringing a more layered and multi-disciplined edge to my live performance is something that I’ve always wanted to try. This one-off event in collaboration with NARC magazine and Northern Stage will be a great opportunity to do this and an interesting and exciting way for me to showcase my new album.”
Nathalie Stern, who joins him on the bill, adds: “This event should blow the socks off anyone who loves music, dancing and having a good time.”
For full listings and to book, call 0191 230 5151 or visit www.northernstage.co.uk