2016: The year we challenge ourselves in theatre

2016, New Year, Challenge, Theatre, Culture, Kettle Mag, Gemma Hirst
Written by GemmHirst

So as the New Year begins and everyone starts to think about their New Year’s resolutions or 2016 goals, I start to think about what my theatre plans are for 2016.

After reading Mark Shenton’s piece about wanting to see shows in 2016 from theatre venues he hasn’t previously attended (can I get a “whoop whoop” for a mention of Newcastle’s Live Theatre?) that sparked my theatre loving brain off, as I think about what I want to get out of this year when it comes to the arts. In my Kettle articles, I have always talked about immersive and challenging theatre pieces and that got me thinking. 

New Year’s resolution 

I’ve decided I should challenge myself to see performances that I usually wouldn’t see. Whether it’s the story itself that’s compelling or the actual art form that’s unusual, I’m going to try and widen my experiences when it comes to theatre performances.

Hopefully by seeing performances like this, it will awaken me to new genres of performances but also educate me as a reviewer. Often I find myself going to see the same types of performances, which I don’t mind but if I want to become the best theatre reviewer I can be it’s important that I cover the whole spectrum.

So if I am going to do this (and it’s published now so I have no choice) I’d better see what’s out there when it comes to challenging pieces in the North East’s theatre industry. 

Get with the programme 

Looking at what Northern Stage has to offer, I spot the perfect show called Learning How To Die, a piece about death and the acceptance of morality. Normally it wouldn’t be my first choice on the programme because I don’t cope well with death (to be fair, I don’t think anyone does), so maybe this could be the perfect show for me – who knows, it could enlighten me about how I should approach such a tough subject as this.

Another show which has caught my eye is a dance piece co-produced by balletLorent and Northern Stage. If you know me, then you will know that as an ex-dancer I’m a sucker for any dance show, but to be honest, I’ve never seen a piece by balletLorent. With all the great reviews they’ve received, I think it’s high time I should. Their next performance at Northern Stage is an adaptation of Snow White by the Brothers Grimm, exploring fear of ageing and the beauty inside. This could be quite a dark performance that still tells a beautiful tale.

Capturing the eye

Live Theatre are also known to have some great performances. I’m rather intrigued to see Iphigenia In Splott a play about drink, drugs and drama, inspired by the Greek myth. The Guardian have described it as, “perfect theatre: intelligent, moving, and horribly, horribly relevant.” This sounds right up my street, and certainly something that I wouldn’t usually see, that’s for sure.

I definitely need to see more dance performances as I don’t get to see many nowadays. As I look into the Dance City programme a show called COAL catches my eye. Possibly not a challenging piece in the way of a storyline, but looking at their trailer, it’s the movement and dance phrases that look powerful. I’m also particularly interested in what the piece is about. Being a northern lass, the mining history is really interesting and important to a Geordie like me. I admit, I have seen theatre performances in the past that are based on or tell a story of the mining industry, but I think this will be more effective and it will certainly be a different side seeing it in dance form. 

Of course, this is just a taste of the shows that are out there in theatre just waiting for me to see them. And I do hope that the next time I see a show, I will be more educated and surprised from what 2016’s North East theatre has to show me. 

What shows are you looking forward to in 2016? Let us know in the comments below!