The Queen’s Hall Arts Centre in Hexham has announced its new spring season, including an unmissable new production of Michael Morpurgo’s much-loved story Little Manfred, some of the biggest names on the UK comedy circuit, family shows, theatre and live music.
Artistic Director Katy Taylor said, “As we get ready to celebrate our 40th anniversary as an arts centre this autumn, the team are busy working away behind the scenes on some big plans which we’ll share in the coming months. For spring we’ve put together a programme of some of the best touring theatre, live music and stand-up comedy shows alongside brilliant stories and talent from the North East to tempt audiences out of hibernation. Plus, families are in for a treat with lots to entertain little ones this half term and Easter holidays.”
Theatre highlights include the return of award-winning Durham based Elysium Theatre Company following their sold out tours of A Doll’s House and Reiver. A rich, boisterous, funny, moving piece of theatre set on Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held, The Island has been seen all over the world. Now, 50 years on from its original production, Elysium Theatre Company is proud to be bringing this joyous play to the Queen’s Hall from 15-17 February.
Scripted by award-winning playwright Garry Lyons and based on stories collected from the local community in Ferrybridge following the demolition of its iconic cooling towers, Blow Down from Theatre Royal Wakefield on 2 March is an hilarious, gritty and thought-provoking show with music about a typical post-industrial Yorkshire town.
The world premiere tour of John Godber’s Teechers Leavers ’22 comes to Hexham on 28 March. A breath-taking, breakneck comedy about a generation left behind told through the eyes of three year 11 students facing a scary world, armed only with imagination and a joy of theatre.
Dragonboy Productions who breathe new life into some of the funniest and most entertaining folk tales return with Tales from a Thousand and One Nights on 18 April. Newly adapted and directed by Eliot Giuralarocca, this is an evening of stylish, ensemble theatre with live music performed by a talented cast of actor-musicians.
The world’s first Door-to-Door Poet Rowan McCabe brings his show about trust, class and community to Hexham on 16 May. This funny and thought-provoking mix of theatre and spoken word tells the story of what happened to Rowan on his trip around the country, knocking on stranger’s doors and writing poems for them for free, on any subject they choose.
Following a raft of sold out stand-up shows including Carl Hutchinson, Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe, there’s another jam-packed comedy line-up on offer. The venue is set to welcome back one of the UK’s most popular magicians as Pete Firman brings his trademark blend of laugh-out-loud comedy and jaw-dropping magic on 18 February. Britain’s Got Talent 2022 winner Axel Blake comes to Hexham from the wilds of Dunstable with his new show In Style on 24 February. Expect fresh stand-up, singing and dubious impressions from Lloyd Griffith (as seen on Ted Lasso, 8 Out of 10 Cats and Jonathan Ross’ Comedy Club) in his new show One Tonne of Fun on 9 March. Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You regular Ivo Graham makes his return to the comedy circuit after three years on 30 March. And his previous tour sold out over 70 dates nationwide, the comic The Times calls a ‘scintillating stand-up’ Rhys James is back with new show Spilt Milk on 15 April.
Family shows include stunning puppetry and original storytelling in Little Manfred on 10-11 February for children aged 7-10 and their families. This new production adapted from Michael Morpurgo’s story about a German prisoner of war and the British family he stayed with after the fighting ended features a cast of serving and veteran military personnel and their family members.
For half term, Assembleth Theatre take you on a hilarious journey through the Trojan War as you’ve never seen it before in The Shodyssey on 21 February, for children aged 8+ .North East children’s theatre company Kitchen Zoo are back by popular demand with Deep Sea Explorers on 22 February - an interactive story session for 3-8 year olds. And a classic tale based on world-famous story, The Little Prince is reimagined for children and their grown-ups on 26 February. And in the Easter holidays, after a decade of magic shows delighting young and old alike the award-winning conjuring act and qualified scientists Morgan & West bring their new show Unbelievable Science to the Queen’s Hall on 11 April. Commissioned by Dance City, How Long is a Piece of String? on 14 April is a unique piece of children’s dance theatre for 3-7 year olds featuring new touch-sensitive technology that allows the audience to interact and make music.
The live music programme starts with a celebration of the Ukrainian New Year’s folk holiday Malanka from Folknery and Boguslavka on 21 January, featuring a local choir from Hexham, with proceeds going towards humanitarian work in Ukraine. The Jive Aces return on 12 February performing songs from the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Sammy Davis Jr as well as their own original tunes. Following a sold out critically acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe and Soho Theatre, An Evening Without Kate Bush pays glorious homage to the music, fans and mythology of one of the most influential voices in British music on 14 February - a perfect alternative Valentine’s night out. Saltlines on 14 March is an inspiring collaboration between bestselling author Raynor Winn (The Salt Path) and folk-roots supergroup The Gigspanner Big Band, which features some of the biggest names on the folk scene. Singing up a storm for over 10 years at festivals, concerts and folk clubs throughout the UK and Europe, She Shanties come to Hexham on 6 May. Plus tribute bands to Eric Clapton, Queen, Status Quo, AC/DC and Fleetwood Mac and the return of classic rock band CATS in SPACE who have toured major UK arenas with Status Quo, Deep Purple and Thunder.
For more information or to book tickets CLICK HERE or call the box office on 01434 652 477