Interview: Carole Wears | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Since 2017 Carole Wears, under the banner CaroleW Productions, has programmed seasons of work across genres (theatre, live music, poetry, spoken word) handpicked from festivals across the world, including Prague Fringe Festival which she helped create in 2000.  Forging partnerships with venues across the region the company is garnering a reputation for quirky, quality work, great storytelling and plenty of heart. 2020 sees the company branching out into the North-East with Going South! at Newcastle’s Lit & Phil Library on 15th and 16th January. The show is about Apsley Cherry-Garrad, survivor of Captain Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole on the 108th anniversary of their great achievement. We caught up with Carole to find out more.

Tell us more about Going South! What is it about?
Going South! Is a comedic storytelling show written and performed by Craig Methven, inspired by the true story of Captain Scott’s ill-fated race to the South Pole during the British Antarctic Expedition of 1910-12 and loosely adapted from The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, the expedition’s Assistant Zoologist. As soon as I saw it in Prague last year, I knew I had to get in touch with The Lit & Phil as I felt the backdrop of the library would be the perfect fit for it here in the North East.  It’s framed as a presentation by the man himself, but also features original songs, comedy and juggling routines, and one accidental burlesque number!

What are the themes within the show?
Going South! charts Cherry’s efforts to tell his story, and honour the endeavours of his fellow explorers, and in doing so asks questions about our ability to be true, open and honest with each other, and how this is impacted by the way we construct images of heroism and bravery. It explores, questions and celebrates the ways we use comedy as a shield, asking what our desire to keep laughing and to keep people laughing does, and how this creates barriers to emotional expression and personal honesty. At the heart of it all, of course is great storytelling which is the main focus of my own endeavours. 

Going South is written and performed by Craig Methven, what was it like working with him?
Craig is part of a collective called Back of The Attic, who themselves are partial to hunting out a great tale and bringing it to life.  They seek out overlooked genres of times gone by and lovingly lampoon them, bringing them back to life with their wonderful brand of humour and physical theatre.  I absolutely love what they do and hope this will be the first of many visits to the region. Craig researched, wrote and performs this show, his style is absolutely charming, and I really think his star is in the ascendant.  Short answer: It’s a complete pleasure to work with him!

What do you hope people take from the show? 
I didn’t call my company CaroleW Productions through any sense of hubris, I was persuaded to do so (by Ali at Alphabetti Theatre amongst others) because people seem to trust my judgement, my “eye” for quality and a good story.  That’s really the theme that links all of the shows I promote or produce. I want to provide a “Good Night Out” for people, great storytelling, shows with heart, an excellent shared experience with fellow theatre-goers which lingers in the memory.  I’m absolutely sure that’s what people will take away from Going South! It has all of this in spades!

What’s Next?
Well, my tastes are nothing if not varied, the rest of the micro early year season is eclectic to say the least!  The story of a gamer playing in his bedroom in which the audience is invited to join his on gaming quests, David McIver: Teleport is performed at Gosforth Civic Theatre in February.  Then in March I have a Stitch in Time; A Knitting Cabaret featuring lost knitting songs of World War I & II on the road in March as well as Ingenue the story of Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland and the glory days of Hollywood both performed by International Opera singer Melanie Gall.  

I’m also cock-a-hoop to be working as producer on a new play A Way Home by Christina Castling, set in the coalfields of Durham and touring the region in June 2020; talk about fantastic and important storytelling, I honestly think this will be the must-see show of the season! 

I’d love to ask your readers to follow updates at or on Facebook and Twitter – it all helps, especially when we venue/genre hop so much… Why make it easy to find out what we are up to!

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