Newcastle’s Live Theatre showcases new free plays online

Claire Maggie Dowens enthuses about Live Theatre's new online productions

Claire Maggie Dowens
30th October 2020
For those desperately in need of a theatre fix and missing the thrill of experiencing live performance, look no further, as a local scheme brimming with talent and creativity is launching, bringing all the atmosphere and theatrics of show-stopping events onto a virtual platform, and best of all it's free!

Live theatre has invested in a brand-new digital programme ‘Live Wired’ which will create a diverse range of theatrical work, produced for online viewing. The venue’s team have adopted an attitude encompassing the well-known standpoint ‘the show must go on’ and remain deeply committed to investing in its talent programme despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, with digital work and engagement opportunities being scheduled until March next year.

The first creative project to be shown will be 10 Minutes To…Call Home, an exciting mixture of online ten-minute plays, written by budding playwrights who are described as being some of the “hottest new writing talent” around. The new plays’ scripts were selected from over 300 submissions in response to an open call out which welcomed aspirants inspired by the concept, ‘To Call Home’. Some of those enjoying success are bright-eyed newcomers, establishing their mark on the theatre scene and hoping to follow in the footsteps of other developing artists across the region. Further collaborators include local actors and writers. The nine selected plays were rehearsed, performed and filmed on Live Theatre’s stage which has nurtured the likes of leading playwrights Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) and C.P. Taylor (And a Nightingale Sang). The result is an electrifying array of dramatic entertainment, which incorporates themes that the theatre reveals as being “bold, gritty, poetic, hilarious” and “fizzing with emotion”.   

The plays are Amai Vangu - My Mother by Mandi Chivasa; Blyth Spirit by John Hickman; Gutter Weeds by Benjamin Storey; Invisible Boundaries by Sarah Tarbit; Off Peak by Ellen McNally; Sheltered by Rebecca Glendenning-Laycock; Star Fish by Niall McCarthy; Watching and Waiting by Olu Alakija and last but by no means least; You Can’t Start A Revolution Sitting On Your Ar*e by Gobscure.

Graeme Thompson, Live Theatre’s creative producer who has also directed on two of the short plays, has commented on the projects digital work stating; “It’s been a privilege to get back to making theatre again here at Live Theatre with such a wide range of writers, actors and directors. Elaborating further he said; "Filming is a new thing for us but I think that the energy has been captured very well and we are really excited to be able to share them online."

"It just feels fantastic to be getting some new theatre back out to our audiences.”

The play debuts have already received great critical acclaim from the press, with The British Theatre Guide emphasising that the “Nine 10-minute diverse pieces of expressive theatre” are “performed and filmed by the team at Live Theatre with love, flare and the skills we’ve come to expect from this crew of innovators”, adding that “a real celebration of the talent that the North East cultures” is blended in this online “petri dish of creativity.”

Whether you’re on the go or looking to settle in for a cosy autumnal evening, the programme is bursting at the creative seams with theatrical performances which offer something for everyone!  

The 10 Minutes To…Call Home series of plays is available to watch on demand now at

Featured Image: Watching and Waiting from @LiveTheatre via Twitter

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