Doors of Tyne Theatre thrown open to disadvantaged groups

Disadvantaged groups will be able to experience the theatre free of charge as a community engagement project gets under way

Newcastle's Tyne Theatre and Opera House
Newcastle's Tyne Theatre and Opera House

Disadvantaged groups will be able to experience the theatre free of charge as a community engagement project gets under way.

Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre and Opera House Preservation Trust has been handed a £1,500 cash boost from the Sir James Knott Trust so people can see Brick By Brick, a production which explores the life and time of theatre founder Joseph Cowen.

Schools, youth clubs and elderly and homeless support groups from the city’s West End will be offered the chance to see free performances and access subsidised transport.

Malcolm Dix, chairman of the Tyne Theatre and Opera House Preservation Trust, said: “I am thrilled that the Sir James Knott Trust has chosen to support Brick by Brick and our heritage access programme.

“It means that we can offer those members of our community who do not have the means to come to the theatre the opportunity to participate in a project conceived and performed in the area where they live. It also enables us to share the story of this important building and the role it has played in the heritage of the North East with as many people as possible.”

Brick by Brick is a promenade piece based on Joseph Cowen (1829-1900), the commissioner of the Tyne Theatre and Opera House and an important figure in politics and industry in the city.

He was the son of Sir Joseph Cowen, who was the MP for Newcastle upon Tyne from 1865 to 1873.

Brick By Brick provides the audience with an exclusive insight into the Tyne Theatre’s inner workings as the audience explores the 19th Century auditorium, takes a peek at the original Victorian under stage machinery and is allowed through theatre doors that have, until now, been closed to them.

The piece has been devised by Morag Iles, 2013 winner of Tyne Theatre and Opera House Preservation Trust scholarship, in conjunction with performing arts students from Newcastle College.

The performance is followed by a drama workshop or question and answer session with the director and cast.

Private group performances (for a maximum of 40 people) of Brick by Brick are taking place between February and March 2014.

The theatre groups from the area that fit the criteria of being from a school, an elderly group or homeless support group to get in touch to make arrangements to attend a performance. Bookings can be made by contacting Philippa Leith, philippa@briandebnam.co.uk or 0191 241 3986. From February 21 to April 4 there will also be paid performances for the general public and high school students from the region. Schools performances are charges at £3 per head and tickets for evening performances will be available at £7.50.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer