NEWS: The Sitting Room/ For The Best @ Washington Arts Centre | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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When was the last time you saw a production that focused on the issue of learning disabilities? For that matter, can you think of the last time you saw a production where the relationship between an older and younger person went beyond the stage of just being ‘caring’? It’s amazing that for all the imaginative productions that come to the region, there’s surprisingly few that touch on very personal, very real health and social issues. Perhaps this has something to do with people wanting to go to the theatre for escapism. Then again, the stage has the power to provoke thought in a personal and intimate environment, so what better way to address some of the most pressing issues of the day head on?

The aptly-named Operating Theatre produce work that focuses on these themes and aren’t afraid to touch on subjects neglected by others. In their double bill at the Washington Arts Centre, they’re focusing on two very different but pressing issues that affect many of us, whether we know it or not. In The Sitting Room, the dynamic between an ageing aunt and her niece is presented to highlight the issues of pensions and care in an age of cutbacks and a squeeze on the welfare state. Meanwhile, in For The Best, the company tackle a particularly thorny issue, trying to discern why, in a country that prides itself on equal health care opportunities for all, people with learning disabilities die at twenty years earlier on average than the rest of the general population. We’ll admit it, it’s not the most cheerful double header for a Wednesday night but we doubt you’ll find a pair of more thought-provoking productions this week.

The Sitting Room and For The Best come to Washington Arts Centre on Wednesday 16th September.

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