INTERVIEW: ELEVATOR FESTIVAL | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Live Theatre is set to highlight the dramatical talents of future theatre makers once again in their recurring Elevator Festival, which runs from Tuesday 15thSaturday 26th March. Championing fresh and local talent has always been at the forefront of Live Theatre’s output, and at the festival’s apex are two new plays commissioned by the theatre.

Intergalactic (Petals and Constellations) by Alison Scurfield is a queer coming-of-age play revolving around an unlikely pair and science class. First presented at one of Live’s Scratch Nights in 2020, Alison’s journey with the story didn’t feel complete: “I’ve done quite a few shorts before and always been happy where I’ve ended them – that’s as far as I wanted to go. But, when I did the scratch of this I knew I wasn’t finished.”

Talking about the opportunity to present her work at Elevator Festival, Alison comments: “It means a lot because Live is so great for new writing. They were the first people to ever programme me and so to be with them again for my first full length is really lovely. Winning the bursary was a massive help because it allowed me time and space to explore the story.”

You create these characters and put them out into the world, but when someone else picks them up and breathes new life into them and gets them doing new things it’s really quite exciting

Intergalactic (Petals and Constellations) will run from Wednesday 16th-Saturday 19th March: Alison implores everyone to come, especially as her mum has bought a new dress for the occasion.

The second play being funded as part of Elevator Festival is The Twenty Seven Club by Lucy Nichols and Chris Connel, which will run from Wednesday 23rd-Saturday 26th March, and is based on Lucy’s novel by the same name. A celebration of 90s nostalgia and music, the play explores mental health and why so many rock stars die at 27.

Chris Connel, Lucy’s husband, hasn’t written a stage play before, however landed his first paid gig as an actor at Live Theatre thirty years ago. Lucy explains the process of adapting the novel for the stage: “You create these characters and put them out into the world, but when someone else picks them up and breathes new life into them and gets them doing new things it’s really quite exciting.” Lucy concludes: “The big thing about Elevator Festival is that you’re given the space to experiment, with support along the way.”

Alongside the brand new plays, Live Theatre will be hosting an array of events to shine a light on the North East drama scene. Artists Question Time will take place on Tuesday 15th March, when an industry panel will be faced with questions from the audience about new writing and progressing in a pandemic. Live Theatre’s Artistic Director Jack McNamara will host the panel, along with two workshops: Introduction to Directing on Saturday 19th and Directing Through Design on Saturday 26th March.

Saturday 19th March will also boast a play reading of Kerry Wright’s semi-autobiographical comedy Kailey, which depicts the turbulent life of a young woman navigating life alone when her mum is caught in the prison system. Finally, Elevator Festival’s Scratch Night will take place on Monday 21st, where five artists will present extracts from new theatre. The audience will have a chance to see these work-in-progress shows and provide feedback, furthering an artist’s development and creative practice.

Elevator Festival takes place at Live Theatre, Newcastle from Tuesday 15th-Saturday 26th March.

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