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The Crack Magazine

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Northern (high)lights

Northern Stage have pulled together a real grab-bag of good stuff for 2023 and this lot – in particular – have got us really excited.

My January blues were well and truly banished when I clocked the cavalcade of exciting productions that will be lighting up Northern Stage over the coming months. I don’t have room to mention everything here, but this lot look well worthy of your attention.

Following phenomenal sell-out runs in London, New York, Edinburgh, Seoul, Sao Paulo and Lima, Theatre Re are returning to the UK with their explosive, joyous and highly acclaimed show The Nature of Forgetting (17 & 18 February). As one of the UK’s leading visual theatre companies, this bunch blur the lines of traditional performance by combining live music and striking visual theatre to create world class, deeply moving non-verbal productions. Their latest show delves sensitively into the fragility of life by exploring what is left when memory and recollection begin to fade.

Award-winning physical theatre company Gecko are internationally acclaimed and their latest show is Kin (pictured, 1-4 March). It’s a provocative story of desperation and compassion, inspired by the epic journey from Yemen to Palestine that Artistic Director Amit Lahav’s grandmother Leah made with her family in 1932 to escape persecution. At a time when the re-birth of community and acceptance seem vital to our survival, these astonishing performers bring their own experiences of migration, racism, empathy and home to this poetically intoxicating piece.

In Am I Alone in This? (13-15 April) Northern Stage Young Company Creators (a talented group of 14-21-year-olds making creative work that interacts with the world and young people’s place within it) explore loneliness and the difficulties they face in finding connection in a disconnected world.

The premiere of a new play by award-winning poet and playwright Hannah Lavery is in the offing in the shape of Protest (27 April-6 May). This concerns three girls who are prepared to stand up for what they believe in, the trio determined to make a change despite the prejudices they encounter in the face of the looming environmental crisis.

Lord of the Flies (3-6 May) is a modern staging of William Golding’s menacing 20th century classic. In the midst of a raging war, a group of British school children are left stranded after surviving a devastating plane crash. Left to fend for themselves, the children are tested to their limits. (Note: creatively integrated audio description will be available at every performance.)

Kidnapped (9-13 May) – from the creative team behind the Olivier Award-winning ‘Pride and Prejudice* sort of’ and the National Theatre of Scotland – is a swashbuckling new adaptation of Robert Stevenson’s classic adventure story about a boy who leaves home for the first time and has to solve a family mystery.

Rifco Theatre Company are reviving the smash-hit comedy Happy Birthday Sunita (18-20 May). Mum has been cooking all day. None of the family are on time. Nav and Harleen are squabbling already and the birthday girl is nowhere to be seen. The curries are simmering and rotis are being smothered in full fat butter. What could possibly go wrong…

I, Daniel Blake (26 May-10 June) has already garnered plenty of press attention and with little wonder. Written by Dave Johns – who memorably played Daniel Blake in Ken Loach’s award-winning film – this vital new adaption exposes the reality behind the cost-of-living crisis headlines. Loach himself commented: “This story is more relevant now than every. And who better to put in on stage than Dave Johns, the original Daniel Blake?”

You might know the story of Wuthering Heights (6-10 June) but to see it performed by theatre troupe Inspector Sands is to experience this tale in a whole new way. They bring their characteristic humour, passion and pathos to this infamous love story that contains violence, peril, social awkwardness, exhilarating music, high winds and, yep, mud.

Mythological and yet futuristic at the same time, HOME X (16 & 17 June) is a visually stunning virtual world that connects performers in Hong Kong and London in real-time using depth-sensing cameras that capture 3D video. Combining theatre, music, game and VR technology, HOME X pushes dance performance into the technological age.

And – looking towards the festive season once again – we have Cinderella: A Fairytale (2 December-6 January). Feisty, fun and joyful, with some baddies you’ll love to hate, this new production of Sally Cookson’s Olivier Award-nominated show is a glorious, girl-powered adventure.

The above shows are just a taster of what’s coming up at Northern Stage this year. Be sure to check their website for the full glorious programme.

Northern Stage, Barras Bridge, Newcastle. northernstage.co.uk 

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