INTERVIEW: Club Six Twenty | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Cortney Dixon

For Melanie Rashbrooke, artistic director of Newcastle-based theatre company The Six Twenty, the rules of traditional theatre are there to be broken. “We want to put on shows that are about more than just the show,” she says. “Our theatre is immersive, it’s a social event. We want to get people talking.” This ethos is at the heart of The Six Twenty’s experimental new event, Club Six Twenty, which will be held at Alphabetti Theatre between Tuesday 10th-Thursday 12th December.

Club Six Twenty will be an experimental exploration of club culture, featuring live music from Teesside disco kings Be Quiet. Shout Loud! (Tuesday 10th), odd popsters Head of Light Entertainment (Wednesday 11th), and engaging pop songstress Cortney Dixon (Thursday 12th), as well as pop-up performances throughout the night from the likes of Cameron Sharp, Melody Sproates, Saff Mee and many more. “It’s about freedom within theatre,” notes Melanie. “You can choose to participate, or you can just turn up and have a dance. There can be a stigma around interactive theatre, so we want the event to be interactive in a friendly way. We want the audience to enjoy the experience.” The events will be dynamic, changing and adapting depending on what works on the night. “Throughout each night we’ll decide whether it is a good night to try certain things,” Melanie says. “We want to adapt and play with things.”

There can be a stigma around interactive theatre, so we want the event to be interactive in a friendly way

Melanie is also interested into appealing to a new generation of theatre-goers, particularly those who have limited experience of theatre. “Throughout the night, people will be able to go into spaces they usually wouldn’t be able to, such as the dressing rooms.” It is for this reason that Alphabetti seemed a natural location for the event to take place: “Alphabetti is a great place to trial new ideas. It’s a space not purely associated with theatre, it’s also a gig space. It’s really close to a lot of the clubs where we’re hoping to draw an audience in from. We want to encourage club-goers to try something different, and if people want to go to the Dog & Parrot or Rusty’s after our event has finished, we’re well placed for them to do so!”

When asked if there’s an age group the event is aimed at, Melanie is resolute that the creative club night can appeal to all ages. “The event is for anybody who’s interested in going to a club night that’s also an arts performance. Obviously, as it’s a club night it is 18+, but there’s no upper limit!”

Melanie hopes the event will be the first of many. “At the moment, the artists involved pretty much have free reign. As this year’s theme is club culture, our artists could be exploring anything from prohibition, modern day club culture, queer club culture, whatever their interest is.” Later events will have more focused themes, and Melanie’s keen to explore how the event would work in a non-theatre space.

Even the timing of the event is audience-based. It runs from 7.30pm but ticket holders are able to join at any time, with the running time of the event up to the audience: “You decide!” Melanie affirms.

Club Six Twenty takes place at Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle from Tuesday 10th-Thursday 12th December

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