Northern Stage reaches beyond the ordinary

Northern Stage is a registered charity. A theatre where ideas meet, and futures change - where we reach beyond the ordinary, every time. Whether you're in the audience in one of our 700 seats, exploring skills and ideas in a workshop, or working with our industry-leading facilities and expertise to give voice to an untold story, you'll soon discover we're so much more than a night out.

Mission: Theatre from the North East. Theatre for everyone

Our Values: 

Our values underpin our strategy, are embodied by our staff and describe how we will deliver our vision and mission.  Through all our work we will be:

  • Innovative: We believe in better.  We work imaginatively within our diverse communities and serve as a collaborative, open and supportive space for new ideas to grow in.  We are rigorous, determined and original in our practice. We seek to empower remarkable individuals and partnerships.

  • Inclusive: We ensure that diversity is enabled and deliver inclusive practice with creativity and commitment in all the work that we undertake.  We are proactive in developing relationships and creating pathways for marginalised and excluded individuals and groups.

  • Collaborative: We work with generosity, ambition and imagination to share our resources, skills and networks with individuals and groups across our region. We offer leadership for the development of talent, and work in partnerships with colleagues in the sector to ensure access to opportunity.

  • Daring: We believe in the social, emotional and political power of theatre: to challenge the status quo, to imagine alternatives and create new narratives.  We retain a spirit of rebellion through all our work, and champion boldness, transgression and the unpredictable mess of creativity.

  • International: We are citizens of a complex and interconnected world.  We forge connections, create exchange and build partnership with artists, communities and audiences across the world as a vital ambassador for the North East. 

  • Resilient: We are strategic in developing our human, financial and physical resources to ensure the long-term resilience of our organisation.  We strive to grow and broaden our audiences and participants, to improve our financial sustainability and minimise our environmental impact.

Our vision:

  • Produce, co-produce and support the production of great theatre for regional, national and international audiences in live and digital forms

  • Tour regionally, nationally and internationally with work that is popular, accessible, politically relevant and culturally diverse

  • Work with the next generation to promote creativity and creative practice, providing life-changing experiences for people who would not normally have access to such opportunities. 

  • Open doors to everyone - with inclusivity, accessibility and empowerment at the heart of everything we do. 
  • Support a network of creative relationships between artists, practitioners and communities both within and beyond the North East

  • Constantly evolve - broadening our relationships, our behaviours and our reach.

History of Northern Stage

The University Theatre opened on the Newcastle University campus in 1970. In the late 1980s the Northern Stage performance company, who had been resident at the theatre before a temporary move, returned to the University site, renamed as Newcastle Playhouse and Gulbenkian Studio, home of Northern Stage.

During the 1990s Artistic Director Alan Lyddiard developed Northern Stage as an ensemble of actors in the mould of the great European theatres. He cemented the company’s reputation for innovation and international work by inviting leading theatre-makers like Lev Dody (Maly Theatre) and Robert Lepage to make work with the ensemble.

In 2004 Newcastle Playhouse and the Gulbenkian Studio closed for major refurbishment work. In the preceding years several of the other companies resident at Newcastle Playhouse, such as Dance City and Northern Sinfonia, had moved into their own purpose built buildings. The decision was taken to amalgamate the venue (Newcastle Playhouse) and resident theatre company (Northern Stage) into one organisation, to serve Newcastle and the North East as a permanent home for mid-scale theatre.

In 2006 the building reopened its doors under a new name, Northern Stage, and a new Artistic Director, Erica Whyman. During her tenure Erica pioneered new models of artist development and showcasing, establishing the innovative Northern Stage at the Edinburgh Festival and NORTH programmes.

In 2013 Lorne Campbell was appointed as Artistic Director. He strengthened the reputation of Northern Stage as an industry leader, increasing the number of in-house productions and co-productions, expanding artist development and creating a new fringe venue, Stage 3.

In Autumn 2020, Northern Stage appointed Natalie Ibu as Artistic Director. Natalie’s vision is to make Northern Stage a building informed and transformed by the region so that company is an essential part of everyone’s lives, making vital pieces of culture for the North East of today and tomorrow. Natalie joined in the middle of a pandemic and has hit the ground running with a commitment to meeting audiences where they are. Her first season has already begun and it comprises three strands: Can We Come In?, Out On The Toon, and Housewarming. It takes you on a journey from your home, into the city and then back to our beloved building.