The People’s Theatre’s exciting Centenary season opened in January with George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, a nod to the Theatre’s rich history.
But to keep going another hundred years then looking forward is as vital as looking back.
With this in mind, the Theatre commissioned PAST GLORIES - four professional North-East playwrights writing brand new one-act plays specifically for the People’s that will receive their world premieres next week.
The People’s Theatre has a long history with supporting and developing new writing, co-producing The People’s Play Award with New Writing North for many years now. Previous winners include Peter Straughan, Carina Rodney, Mike Yeaman and, most recently in 2010, Fiona Veitch Smith.
The writers for PAST GLORIES each have an association with the People’s, either past or present.
And for a Group which has seen its fair share of talent pass through the doors (former members include Kevin Whately, Andrea Riseborough, Ross Noble and Neil Tennant) it might come as little surprise that the writers involved represent some of the best emerging and established writing talent in the region.
Never Rains: left to right - Emma Watson (Cari),
Jo Kelly (Lyn), Louisa Shirley (Meredith)
Kicking proceedings off are A Spoonful of Honey by Tony Gannie and Never Rains But It Pours by Alison Carr. Tony worked with Emmy and Bafta-Award winning Jimmy McGovern on The Street, while Alison’s last play sold out at the National Theatre.
This is swiftly followed by Wordworth’s Sister by Sue Saunders and Keeping Up With the Joans by Philip Meeks. Sue’s work has been performed worldwide and Philip is a former Emmerdale writer and award-winning playwright.
The writers were first approached about the project nearly a year ago. They were given Past Glories as their overarching title and the brief to write for casts of no more than three.
What they have come up with are four diverse, entertaining and dramatic new plays.
John MacDonald and Kath Frazer direct two plays each, the twelve actors ranging from long-established members to those making their first appearances at the People’s.
A Spoonful Of Honey charts the memories of 99 year old Lilian, now bed bound in a care home – hopeful and funny as she recollects the memorable moments in her life.
Never Rains But It Pours finds the Jensen family trapped in the attic room of their rapidly flooding house, family secrets rising to the surface and resentments spilling over.
Wordsworth’s Sister takes audiences to 1842, when a young painter visits Rydal Mount and meets Dorothy Wordsworth, a vibrant and intriguing woman and so much more than simply the sister of the famous poet.
And in Keeping Up With The Joans, Kitty and Zillah are arguing over who played the greatest St Joan in their glory days with the Half Moon Players!
Dates Tuesday 5 – Saturday 16 April 2011 (no perfs Sun 10 & Mon 11)
The plays are presented as double-bills on alternate nights
Venue People’s Theatre, Stephenson Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 5QF
Tickets £10.50 [£8.50 concessions] per double-bill
Box Office 0191 265 5020