Spanning twenty years, Shandyland is a story of life, love, death and drink at the heart of a small, northern, family-run pub, and a shout of frustration from an abandoned working class community. Shandyland opens at Northern Stage (12-23 May), and after its Newcastle premiere will tour to Everyman, Liverpool (27 May - 6 June), Oldham Coliseum Theatre (9 - 20 June) and York Theatre Royal (23 June - 4 July).

Writer Gareth Farr explains, “Shandyland deals with the divisions of a community and shines a light on what is happening within our often overlooked working class towns. It is both a drama with charm and a comedy with punch. It has the heart of the working class running all the way through it. It celebrates a cast of lively, loveable and recognisable characters and asks what has happened over the past twenty years to make them feel so angry, unheard and forgotten.

Denise Black will play Sally. Denise started out with Actor's Touring Company (ATC) in the early ‘80s performing plays around the globe, and landed her first acting break in the UK in the title role of Pam Gems’ premiere of La Pasionaria at the Newcastle Playhouse (now Northern Stage).

Denise says, “I played my first ever title role in a new play on this stage in 1984. It’s where I met Josie Lawrence and Kate McKenzie and we sang on tables and became Denise Black and the Kray Sisters! You can still hear us on Spotify and iTunes! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be coming back for Shandyland.”

Probably best known for TV roles in Coronation Street, Queer as Folk and Benidorm, Denise’s theatre credits include an award winning performance as Rainey in The Cherry Orchard (Sherman Theatre, Cardiff) for which she won Best Performance in a Play at the UK Theatre Awards, Martha in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf (Liverpool Playhouse) and title roles in Yerma and Mrs Warren’s Profession (Manchester Royal Exchange).

William Ash plays Mark. William has appeared numerous TV shows including Silent Witness, Shameless, The Tunnel, Wanderlust, Conviction, Clocking Off and Soldier Soldier. Theatre credits include The Globe Mysteries (Shakespeare’s Globe); You Can See the Hills (Royal Exchange Theatre/Young Vic), How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found (Sheffield Crucible); Electra and Port (Manchester Royal Exchange); The Sugar Syndrome and Presence (Royal Court Theatre); and Juno and the Paycock (Donmar Warehouse).

Steve Huison plays Brendan. Steve starred as Lomper in hit film The Full Monty and television credits include Dinnerladies, Casualty and The Royle Family for the BBC, The Last Train, The Street, The Royal, Wire In The Blood, Heartbeat, Cracker, Coronation Street and Scott & Bailey for ITV. Theatre credits include The Trackers Of Oxyrhynchus (National Theatre), Richard III, The Mysteries, When We Are Married and They Don’t Pay, We Won’t Pay (Northern Broadsides), Brassed Off, Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay and Dumbshow (Oldham Coliseum Theatre), and Our House (Hull Truck).

Vivienne Bell plays Karen. Vivienne is an actor and singer/songwriter. Her acting credits include England is Mine (Essoldo Pictures), National Treasure (Channel 4), Daily Plays (Pleasance London) and 24 Hour Plays (Old Vic). Awards include Best Actress in a Leading Role (Midland Movies 2019), Best Female Actor (Little Wing Film Festival 2019), Best Actor (MAC Underground Film Festival 2017) and the Highly Commended Award (Spotlight Prize 2010).

Charlotte O’Leary plays Amy. Television credits include The Witcher (Netflix) and Bang (S4C/BBC). Theatre credits include Mission Control (National Theatre Wales), On the Other Hand We’re Happy, Daughterhood, Dexter and Winter’s Detective Agency, Hush, Island Town, Sticks and Stones, and How to Spot an Alien (Paines Plough) and Under Milk Wood (The Watermill Theatre).
Bobby Hirston plays Al. Theatre credits include Max in The Play That Goes Wrong (West End & National Tour); Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Temple Music Society); Gaz in D&G (Rich Mix); and Al in Shandyland (Old Vic 12). Television credits include series regular Gary in Drifters (E4); Coronation Street (ITV) and Doctors (BBC).

Rebekah Hinds plays Maude. Theatre credits include Paradise (Hampstead Theatre); Much Ado About Nothing (Watford Palace); Humble Boy (Orange Tree); Anita and Me (UK Tour); The Government Inspector (Birmingham Rep/Ramps on the Moon UK Tour - Olivier Award Nominated); Billy Liar (Royal Exchange); and Around the World (Sadler's Wells & Mint Theater, New York). TV credits include Scarborough (BBC), Trollied (Sky1); Inside no. 9 (BBC); The Syndicate (BBC); and Shameless (Channel 4).

Pip Chamberlin plays Bill and Phil. Pip is native to the north east of England. Recent credits include Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain (Apollo, West End), Horrible Histories (UK, UAE, Australia & New Zealand tours for Live Nation), Snow White (Gala Theatre, Durham), How Did I Get to This Point (Live Theatre/Alphabetti), and Seven Other Children (Octagon Bolton). TV credits include George Gently, Vera, Emmerdale, Hospital People and Undercover.

Maanuv Thiara plays Joe and Fazal. A graduate of Bristol Old Vic, he was part of their anniversary performance of King Lear alongside Timothy West. TV credits include BBC2’s The Boy with the Top Knot and Line of Duty. Theatre credits include Trojan Horse (LUNG Theatre, winner of the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award and a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Fringe), The Funeral Director (Southwark Playhouse), Approaching Empty (The Kiln), A Passage to India (Park Theatre) and the West End transfer of Hamlet directed by Rob Icke, where he appeared alongside a star cast including Andrew Scott.

The creative team are:

Director Hannah Banister - theatre credits include Things I Say When I Don’t Say I Love You (The Lowry/UK Tour); Hush (Paines Plough/Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama/Gate Theatre); Trapp (Old Vic) and Best Men (Southwark Playhouse). Hannah was also Associate Director on Life of Pi (Sheffield Crucible/West End), and at the Old Vic 12 where she met writer Gareth Farr in 2018 and the began working on Shandyland. She is excited to return to the North East having originally studied at Newcastle College.

Hannah said, “Shandyland is a world I know, and I was instantly drawn to its authenticity. An ensemble drama full of complex characters whose storylines weave throughout. And the action is epic! It is a joy to bring to life, not least for the strong yet flawed brilliant female characters whose personalities drive the plot. With an A-team of actors and creatives who I am proud to have on board, audiences can expect all the fun, fight and conversation associated with your local northern boozer, expect to laugh out loud and ask wider questions about community. It’s a story of people desperately searching for connection, a struggle which at times leads to devastating and shocking events.”

Writer Gareth Farr’s debut full-length play, Britannia Waves the Rules, won the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting in 2011 and was produced by Royal Exchange in Manchester before being extended and taken out on tour. It was then revived by the Royal Exchange for a second tour and has since been produced in Sydney, Australia. Gareth’s second play, The Quiet House, was produced by Birmingham Rep and transferred to Park Theatre in London in 2016. The Quiet House was made into a short film in 2019 and will form part of the Fertility Fest archive at The Wellcome Collection. Gareth has also taken part in the Royal Court Writers Programme.

Designer Rebecca Brower has worked extensively in theatre including The Last King of Scotland (Sheffield Crucible) and Glass Menagerie (Arcola). Rebecca was on the design team for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and more recently the closing ceremony of the Great Exhibition of the North in Newcastle.

Lighting designer Lizzie Powell has worked with the National Theatre of Scotland, Citizens Theatre, Royal Exchange and the Royal Shakespeare Company and recent productions include Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (Live Theatre and UK tour) and Cora Bissett’s What Girls Are Made Of (Traverse Theatre).

Sound designer Nick John Williams’ theatre credits include The Snow Queen, A Christmas Carol, Alice in Wonderland, Dr. Frankenstein, James and the Giant Peach, Julie and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Northern Stage), Elton John’s Glasses (Watford Palace Theatre), No Miracles Here and Five Feet In Front (The Letter Room) and The Tempest (Improbable Theatre/Oxford Playhouse/Northern Stage).
Dramaturg Selma Dimitrijevic is a director, writer, dramaturg and artistic director of Greyscale. Her recent work includes libretti for Olivier nominated Berenice (Royal Opera House) and To See The Invisible (Aldeburgh Festival); dramaturgy for Sting’s musical The Last Ship and a gender disrupted version of Mary Shelly’s Dr Frankenstein for Northern Stage and Greyscale.

A Northern Stage co-production with Everyman, Liverpool, Oldham Coliseum Theatre, York Theatre Royal and Greyscale in association with Echo Presents and Matthew Schmolle Productions. Shandyland was originally developed by The Old Vic through The Old Vic 12 scheme which aims to nurture and develop the next generation of theatre practitioners.

Shandyland opens in Newcastle in May 2020 before going on tour until the end of July. For more information or to book tickets visit or call 0191 230 5151.