In the 35th anniversary of Jim Cartwright’s joyous and anarchic masterpiece, the residents of Road are relocated to the North East in the first show Artistic Director Natalie Ibu will direct here at Northern Stage.

“I’m excited to be working with a brilliant cast and creative team to explore the intersectionality between race, class and gender and bring Jim Cartwright’s vivid characters back to life, 2021 style.”  - Natalie Ibu

Part of our Housewarming season, audiences and artists will be welcomed back to the theatre’s main stage with a gritty, funny, riotous show about community and connection. Natalie says,

“Road is the perfect post-pandemic celebration of community and resilience - the narrator introduces us to residents on the road, who then make their way out of their own houses to their local pub. In fact, all of our Housewarming season productions talk directly to the audience - breaking down the fourth wall to welcome people back, and re-connecting artists and audiences in a way that only live theatre can.

“It’s the dream play for me to direct as my first show for Northern Stage - I directed a scene when I was at university and it has really stayed with me for 17 years. It’s with Road that I found my vision as a director. It helped me articulate that I wanted to tell stories about the blood, sweat and tears it takes to live life, and that I wanted to fill stages with loud, vivid expressions of what it means to be alive.

“Originally set in Lancashire, we’re relocating it to a North East working class community dealing with poverty, unemployment, disappointment and a desperation for change whilst also making the most of who and what they have. It’s about what it is to live, in all of its complexities - looking to the past to understand how we live now, telling forgotten stories about forgotten people. There’s an incredible resilience in this community, a charm; they’re a hoot to be around and I’m excited to be working with a brilliant cast and creative team to explore the intersectionality between race, class and gender and bring Jim Cartwright’s vivid characters back to life, 2021 style.”

The cast are Michael Hodgson (The Pitmen Painters/Live Theatre/National Theatre/West End/Broadway, Get Carter/Northern Stage); Ike Bennett (Curfew/Sky TV with Adrian Lester and Sean Bean); Rosie Stancliffe (Leaving by Paddy Campbell/Curious Monkey); Ryan Nolan (Hyem/Theatre 503, Ryan made his feature film debut as Private Malky in Sam Mendes' award winning 1917); Nicole Sawyerr (Those Who Trespass/Arts Ed & High Tide Festival, Boom/Theatre 503); Ruby Crepin-Glyne - making her professional theatre debut, Ruby graduated from The Oxford School of Drama in 2019 where she performed at the Sam Wanamaker Festival/ The Globe, and The Royal Court in Mark Ravenhill’s Pool No Water; Rohit Gokani (Silver Street/BBC Asian Network, A Living Myth/English National Opera, TV credits include Wire in the Blood with Robson Green); Shahbaaz Khan (a recent graduate from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts returning to his home region to make his professional stage debut, credits include Shakespeare in Love/Mountview and Looted/AmazonTV); Philip Harrison (recent credits include The Duke with Jim Broadbent, and Jekyll & Hyde/Northumberland Theatre Company); and Patricia Jones (West End Girls/Live Theatre, film credits include I, Daniel Blake).

The creative team are Set & Costume Designer Amelia Jane Hankin (One Under/Graeae, Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads/Chichester Festival Theatre); Lighting Designer Zoe Spurr (Emilia/West End, Wuthering Heights/ Royal Exchange Theatre); Sound Designer Jon McLeod (Macbeth/Shakespeare’s Globe, Collapsible/Bush Theatre); Assistant Director Natasha Haws (Familiar/Alphabetti Theatre); Movement Director Nadia Iftkhar who has made and collaborated on over 20 works at venues including Sadler’s Wells, Tramway Glasgow, Dance City Newcastle and Konzerthaus Wien; Intimacy Directors Yarit Dor (Death of a Salesman/Young Vic) and Enric Ortuno; Dialect Coaches Yvonne Morley-Chisholm (associate with the National Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare’s Globe) and Tim Charrington (theatre credits include the West End, Old Vic, Donmar, Royal Court, Manchester Royal Exchange, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Sheffield Crucible, TV credits include 24); and Casting Director Nadine Rennie CDG (Olivier nominated Ivan and the Dogs by Hattie Naylor, God’s Property by Arinze Kene).

As well as opening up the theatre to audiences, Natalie  is creating more opportunities for more artists and creatives to work with us, including open calls for casting and freelance roles on the creative team and new ways for local theatre makers to engage, such as open rehearsals and workshops. Natalie says,

“Nadine Rennie has a wealth of experience, having worked with the likes of Roxana Silbert, Indhu Rubasingham, Rufus Norris and Roy Williams to name just a few, and has helped us to find a hugely talented and diverse cast; 10 actors play 37 roles, so getting the casting right was essential and I’m so excited to start work with them in rehearsals. The show has real moments of joy and celebration but also tackles more challenging topics and so I’m really pleased to be working with intimacy directors, Yarit Dor and Enric Ortuno, to empower actors and help create a process that is more conscious of boundaries, consent and self-care.”

We are committed to making our  work as accessible as possible. As well as performances with BSL, closed captions and audio description, we continue to offer socially distanced shows and Northern Stage at Home allows audiences who aren’t yet ready or able to come to the theatre to watch Northern Stage productions online.

Book tickets for Road here.