Live Theatre Company
Activities, History and museums
Live Theatre formerly Live Theatre Company is a theatre and company based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
It was founded in Tyneside in 1973 by Val McLane, Geoff Gillham and Dave Clark. The company originally toured its work regionally to non-traditional theatre settings, such as community halls and working men's clubs. The company was creating plays and stories that were relevant to the North East community and sought to break down barriers by presenting this work to ordinary working-class people within their own communities.
The company has been based in Newcastle Quayside since 1982, expanding over the years to occupy the current premises which combine converted warehouses and Almshouses to create a unique building which houses a theatre auditorium, café bar, rehearsal spaces and administrative offices. Live Theatre also took over the lease of a new warehouse building on Broad Chare, immediately adjacent to the previous theatre. In 2007 Live Theatre underwent a further capital development. It now combines state-of-the-art facilities in a unique historical setting, including an intimate cabaret style theatre, a studio theatre, renovated rehearsal rooms, a series of dedicated writer’s rooms as well as a thriving café, bar and gastro pub, The Broad Chare, all in a beautifully restored and refurbished complex of five Grade II listed buildings.
Live Theatre develops new writing talent in the region. The company has enjoyed significant relationships with many writers such as CP Taylor, Tom Hadaway, Alan Plater and, more recently, Peter Flannery, Michael Chaplin, Peter Straughan, Julia Darling, Lee Hall, Sean O'Brien and Karen Laws. Many plays have been commissioned and produced over the years which are now known nationally and internationally, such as Close The Coalhouse Door, Cooking with Elvis and A Nightingale Sang.
In 2013 Live Theatre celebrated 40 years of creating plays on Tyneside with a programme that included a new national tour of Lee Hall’s The Pitmen Painters by Bill Kenwright Limited, and sell out runs at Live Theatre of Tyne by Michael Chaplin, Wet House by new talent Paddy Campbell and a revival of Lee Hall’s Cooking with Elvis. Wet House successfully transferred to the Soho Theatre in 2014.
Between January and June 2014 Live Theatre presented a series screenplays in development by writer Lee Hall, which includes scrips in development about English cricketer Harold Larwood, a film adaptation of Down and Out in Paris and London based on the book by George Orwell, Rocket Man about the life of pop star Elton John and Victoria and Abdul based on the life of Queen Victoria and her manservant and For The End Of Time based on the life and works of French composer Messiaen. All were read as script-in-hand readings in Live Theatre's main theatre.
Incognito by Nick Payne was a co-production between Live Theatre, nabokov, HighTide Festival Theatre and in association with The North Wall, Oxford in spring 2014, which previewed at Live Theatre in April 2014, before going to HighTide Festival and The North Wall. It returned to Live Theatre in May 2014 and then had a sell-out run at The Bush Theatre, London.
Live Theatre's 2013 show Captain Amazing written by Bruntwood Prize winning author Alistair McDowall, directed by Clive Judd and starring Mark Weinman returned to Live Theatre in May 2014 and was performed at Northern Stage's Kings Hall Edinburgh venue for a week as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
In November 2014 Live Theatre premiered Flying Into Daylight, a new play by Emmy-award winning screenwriter Ron Hutchinson. Drawn from a true story, the play features live Tango music created and performed by Tango musician Julian Rowlands and dance choreographed by Amir Giles.