Four short plays that champion North East talent are about to be toured across the region in a showcase designed to reach audiences that normally wouldn’t access theatre.
Blowin’ a Hooley Theatre, a company dedicated to making theatre more accessible in deprived areas has successfully combined critically acclaimed and new local writers with a small troupe of professional actors and two talented North East directors to deliver “Yarns from Hyem.”
The four plays are Biscuit Tins by Middlesbrough writer Elijah Young, Attachments by Julia Darling, A Memory for Forgetting by Alex Oates from North Blyth and Pupil Premium by South Shields new writer Barbara Williams.
Each of the plays were specially chosen for the tour to compliment the well-established classic Attachments by the late Julia Darling. The play was specially written for Charlie Hardwick and Trevor Fox and later adapted for television.
Biscuit Tins by Elijah Young, the Young Writer in Residence 2019 at the Customs House in South Shields, tells the story of two siblings who appear to be very close but eventually cracks start to show. Instead of brushing them under the carpet, they choose to face the problems of their past.
A Memory for Forgetting is set in the world of memory competitions as a girl from the Meadowell Estate in North Shields takes on the UK Memory Championship. The play examines the irony of how tough it can be when you’re practicing to remember when there’s things you’d rather forget.
Pupil Premium was written as the result of a regional competition Blowin’ A Hooley Theatre held to find a new female writer from the North East. Winner Barbara Williams is a teacher by day and based the play on her experiences of how government definitions of aspiration for young people play out in the North East. Pupil Premium is her first professionally performed play and while she is looking forward to watching it in front of a live audience, she is feeling a little apprehensive.
“This is the first time my work has been in the spotlight and although I’m very excited I’m also a little nervous: it's inspired by my own background and those of students I’ve taught, so I hope to do them justice."
Blowin’ a Hooley is led by actors Harriet Ghost and Micky McGregor. Micky was recently selected for BAFTA’s Elevate 2019 programme which aims to support actors from under-represented groups moving forward in their careers and to help tackle the issue of diversity in the industry as a whole. Harriet trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, New York, and the two Geordies have worked steadily in the region for over a decade, most notably with Ken Loach on I, Daniel Blake and Sorry We Missed You as well as ITV’s Vera, BBC’s Wolfblood and numerous theatre productions.
Harriet and Micky will be joined by North East actors Michaela Forbes, Hannah Marie Davis, Sam Stafford and Paul Joseph who will be directed by even more local talent in Tracy Gillman and Andy Berriman.
Yarns from Hyem is supported by Arts Council England National Lottery funding.
Yarns from Hyem can be seen at:
Old Low Light Heritage Centre North Shields 28 March 7.30pm
Cedarwood Trust Meadowell 30 March 5pm
Byker Community Centre 3 April 7.30pm
The Exchange North Shields 4 April 7.30pm
Ushaw Historic House, Chapels and Gardens Durham 5 April 3pm
Whitley Bay Library 6 April 6.30pm
Blackfriars Ouseburn 7 April 1.30pm
Alphabetti Theatre 7 – 11 April 7.30pm
"We're bringing together the best of new writing, directing and acting talent in one show."
Micky McGregor - Blowin' A Hooley Theatre