Celebrating 50 years of Northern Stage with bold new productions made in Newcastle, transformational work with young people, support for North East theatre-makers and new shows from some of the UK’s most exciting touring companies

Spring 2020 marks the start of Northern Stage’s 50th anniversary year. At last night’s launch event five more new productions were announced for the theatre’s 50th anniversary alongside those already announced for the spring season.

Red Ellen (17 Sept - 3 Oct) is a remarkable new play from Caroline Bird telling the inspiring and epic story of Ellen Wilkinson, Labour MP, who was forever on the right side of history, forever on the wrong side of life. Caught between revolutionary and parliamentary politics, Ellen fights with an unstoppable, reckless energy for a better world. A Northern Stage, Nottingham Playhouse & Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh production, Red Ellen will premiere in Newcastle before touring and will be directed by Wils Wilson (Twelfth Night/Royal Lyceum).

Following the sell-out success of The War of the Worlds and The Hound of the Baskervilles, Northern Stage presents an electrifying new production adapted from H.G. Wells’ science fiction classic, featuring a new take on one of the most iconic characters in horror fiction The Invisible Man (10-23 September then touring).  Exploring themes of exploitation, establishment and truth, investigating the conflict between power and morality, The Invisible Man questions who is really invisible in Great Britain 2020? Directed by Anna Girvan (Our Country’s Good/Tobacco Factory Theatres) and adapted by Philip Correia (Hyem/Theatre 503), The Invisible Man is part of Northern Stage’s NORTH programme to support and develop new talent in the North East of England.

Maria Aberg ([BLANK]The White Devil) directs a vivid new production of Gatsby (7-17 October), plunging us headfirst into a seductive and murky world of love, money and glamour. A Bristol Old Vic, Northern Stage, English Touring Theatre, Royal & Derngate, Northampton, Oxford Playhouse, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre production.

North East theatre makers Kitchen Zoo with another inventive production for under 6s following the success of WOLF! and The Three Bears at Christmas. The Hey Diddle Diddle Christmas Spectacular (21 November - 2 January 2021) features Kitchen Zoo’s trademark music and puppetry in a brand new show designed especially for little ones. And the team that brought you The Snow Queen, A Christmas Carol, James and the Giant Peach and Alice in Wonderland are back with another magical festive adventure, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (28 November - 2 January 2021) – a new adaptation written by Laura Lindow (The War of the Worlds/Northern Stage, Key Change/Open Clasp).

The 50th anniversary season also includes stage premieres of Shandyland - originally developed through The Old Vic 12 scheme, written by Bruntwood Prize winning playwright Gareth Farr; a new theatrical version of The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff by BBC Radio Two Folk Award winners the Young’uns, directed by Northern Stage Artistic Director Lorne Campbell; HERE - a co-production with Northern Stage associate artists Curious Monkey written by Lindsay Rodden; Northern Stage’s Young Company presents the third part of their kaleidoscopic view of the state of our nation, asking Where Do We Go Now?; plus new shows from some of the UK’s most exciting and innovative touring companies including Frantic Assembly, Headlong and Told by an Idiot.

Speaking at the season launch, Artistic Director Lorne Campbell said, “The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff is a fitting way to open Northern Stage’s 50th anniversary season; it is deeply personal, political and yet accessible at the same time. It sets the scene for the rest of our new work – hope is the thread running through the whole year long programme; it’s about being empowered to change the world, whoever you are and wherever you come from.”

Tickets for most shows start at £10. Tickets for the spring season are already on general sale; tickets for new shows go on sale to Northern Stage members at 10am on 24 January, and on general sale on 31 January. For full details or to book tickets see northernstage.co.uk or call the box office on 0191 230 5151.