Ashington pupils to have their plays staged at city theatre

From left,  Bethany James, Tamzin-Mae Butler, Jack Calender and Emily Robson, four of the six Northumberland Church of England Academy pupils having plays they wrote staged at the Live Theatre in Newcastle on Friday, March 4, as part of the Write Stuff project.

From left, Bethany James, Tamzin-Mae Butler, Jack Calender and Emily Robson, four of the six Northumberland Church of England Academy pupils having plays they wrote staged at the Live Theatre in Newcastle on Friday, March 4, as part of the Write Stuff project.

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Six pupils at the Northumberland Church of England Academy in Ashington are to have plays they wrote staged at Newcastle’s Live Theatre on Friday, March 4.

The teenagers’ plays were produced as part of Write Stuff, an eight-week programme of drama and writing workshops held jointly by the Broad Chare venue and the academy.

Some 20 pupils at the school, aged 13 and 14, were initially involved in the workshops and given tips on developing characters, settings, genres and improvisation.

Six of them – Tamzin-Mae Butler-Judge, Emily Robinson, Ben Stroughton, Lauren Ballantine, Bethany James and Jack Callender – were then picked to take part in a weekend residency to produce short plays to be performed as script-in-hand readings by professional actors in the venue’s Studio Theatre.

The plays being read are Casting Out by Tamzin-Mae, Flightpath by Emily, The Trial by Ben, I’ll Always Be With You by Lauren, Mystery and Memories by Bethany and The End by Jack, and they deal with themes including loss, memory, post-apocalyptic survival, plane crashes, fly-fishing and alternative dimensions.

They will be performed by actors familiar to theatre audiences in the north east including Dean Bone, Sam Neale, Sam Bell, Sarah Boulter, Judi Earl, Chris Connell, Kylie Ford, Zoe Hakin, Ruth Johnson and Michael Blair.

Live Theatre resident drama worker Jonluke McKie said: “It’s been amazing to see the varied and insightful ideas of these young writers grappling with really mature themes with brilliant humour and energy.”

“The Live Theatre is committed to nurturing new talent in the region, and we’ve been delighted to work with The Northumberland Church of England Academy on such an in-depth project.”

Graeme Waterston, head of drama at the school, added: “The Write Stuff project has provided students with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“We have witnessed first hand the development in student confidence and creativity.

“It’s been an altogether inspirational experience for all involved.”

Write Stuff is on at the Live Theatre at 7.30pm.

Tickets cost £8. For details, call (0191) 232 1232 or go to www.live.org.uk

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