FEATURE: Coming Up In 2018 – Stage | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Fleabag by Jonny Birch

Northern Stage’s commendable programme features cutting-edge theatre and big productions alike, including Paddy Campbell’s immersive tales of young people in care, Leavers (9-10/3); Sting’s political and passionate musical The Last Ship, starring Jimmy Nail (12/3-7/4); an unmissable version of Graham Greene’s gripping noir thriller Brighton Rock (1-5/5); plus Newcastle Poetry Festival welcomes prize winners and up and comers alike (3-5/5). Speaking of spoken word (*clunk*) Cobalt Studios welcome the Born Lippy spoken word crew (14/2 & 14/3), fusing performance with hip-hop acapella and head to head poetry slams. It’s an essential night out.

Teechers, John Godber’s classic comedy about life at a struggling school, is at Customs House in South Shields (22-23/2), as is a new musical about The Day Muhammed Ali Came To South Shields (6-10/3). The People’s Theatre present a tender portrait of Enigma code breaker Alan Turing in Breaking The Code (13-17/2); Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting offers raw, loud and controversial theatre (17-21/4); while Lee Hall presents his black comedy, Cooking With Elvis (12-16/6).

Sebastian Faulks’ hard-hitting and evocative war story, Birdsong, is at Gala in Durham (21-26/5). Also on a historical note, Your Best Guess looks at the unpredictability of the course of history, in a thrilling and unusual show at Stockton’s ARC (14/6).

Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s cult comedy hit Fleabag brings social anxiety, disastrous job interviews and meaningless sex to Live Theatre’s stage (22-26/5). While the multi-layered Testosterone looks at gender in an honesty and irreverent production which calls in at several locations (Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre 30/4, Arts Centre Washington 3/5, The Witham 4/5 & Bishop Auckland Town Hall 5/5).

For those looking for a more active experience, Dance City’s Echoes is an exhilarating, high-octane Kathak dance experience exploring our relationships with our ancestors (8/3); while Fall Out (22/3) partners live jazz with graceful tap dance; and National Dance Company Wales share twisted fairytales, Russian folk dance and quirky theatricality (12-13/5). Gosforth Civic Theatre welcome Eliot Smith Dance Company’s contemporary dance triple bill (14/4), while at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal dance company Rambert present an exhilarating performance of Ghost Dances (6-8/2). Also at Theatre Royal is a thrilling modern production of Ibsen’s dramatic Hedda Gabler (13-17/2); Opera North return with a triple bill of Madama Butterfly (22 & 22/3), Don Giovanni (21 & 23/3) and Un Ballo in Maschera (24/3); while Khaled Hosseini’s stunning novel, The Kite Runner, gets a stage adaptation (30/4-5/5).

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