INTERVIEW: Tyne to Stand Up… Again | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Louise Young, one of the artists performing at this year’s event


Last year, Catherine Young found herself among a stellar line-up for the very first Tyne to Stand Up; a gala jammed to the rafters with a bounty of all-female North East comedians.

With a pinwheeling career behind her (one straddling mental health work and singing in working men’s clubs) connecting with people has always been close to Catherine’s heart, and with Tyne to Stand Up… again on the horizon, she’s buzzing to be back bringing people together for a great cause.

“It tells people there is a community out here for them, and we need that audience as much as they need a show, it’s nothing without them, and people can feel they’re making a real difference because their money is going to something good.”

That something good is Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland. Taking place on International Women’s Day, all money from the show goes to the charity, with over 15 phenomenal acts (including Sammy Dobson, Lauren Stone, Anja Atkinson and Your Aunt Fanny) giving their time for free.

You don’t often get an all-female line-up like this, and it feels special, it feels unique,” beams Catherine. “Everything about it is special. It’s a privilege to be part of it. When you think of the knock-on effect it could have on the charity, it’s beyond a privilege.”

You don’t often get an all-female line-up like this, and it feels special, it feels unique

For last year’s show, with just days to go and tickets nearly sold out, Catherine made her way backstage at Tyne Theatre and Opera House to check out the venue. Getting there early was a good move.

“The stage was huge,” she recalls, “And I’m glad I walked out onto it because what I didn’t realise is that a theatre stage set up for massive productions has a slight tilt on it, like when you step onto a waltzer and the floor is off. It would have been a surprise if I’d just walked out on stage in front of everyone and started falling towards them!”

Crisis averted and centre of gravity established, the winner of Hilarity Bites New Act of the Year 2019 soaked in the atmosphere as she readied herself for what was to become one of the highlights of last year’s comedy calendar.

“It was so atmospheric. All of the hundreds of thousands of people who’ve been there and laughed and cried, and been entertained. You can feel the energy of all that has gone before. It was lovely last year to see the amount of men who turned up with their wives and their daughters to support the night too. Everyone was in on it.”

Behind the scenes then and now is Felt Nowt; a not-for-profit organisation that aims to transform the North East comedy scene for audiences and comedians, taking comedy to communities that might not otherwise have access to it. With Tyne to Stand Up…Again, the blokes are taking a welcome backseat.

“We’re here to support women,” Catherine points out, “but we’ve got men working behind the scenes, male comedians working really hard as part of Felt Nowt. Obviously, they’re not allowed on the stage, but they’re there and they’re putting their backs into it. A lot of other male comedians from the area will be there, but they’ll need to be in the audience for once. And they’re happy to do it!”

Tyne to Stand Up… Again takes place at Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Newcastle on Wednesday 8th March.

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