Natalie Ibus first show as Northern Stage Artistic Director

Photo Credit: Joanne Coates

In the 35th anniversary of Jim Cartwright’s joyous and anarchic masterpiece, the residents of Road are relocated to the North East in the first show Artistic Director Natalie Ibu will direct for Northern Stage.

Protest, poetry, lust and grit. Road hopes to be a vibrant, funny and moving show celebrating community and the incredible resilience of the human spirit. This dynamic portrait of working class life shows us the moments of extraordinary in the ordinary.

Part of Northern Stage’s Housewarming season, Natalie says, “Road is the perfect post-pandemic celebration of community and resilience – the narrator introduces us to residents on the road, who then make their way out of their own houses to their local pub. In fact, all of our Housewarming season productions talk directly to the audience – breaking down the fourth wall to welcome people back, and re-connecting artists and audiences in a way that only live theatre can.

Road is originally set in Lancashire but Northern Stage are relocating it to the region. It looks at what it is to live, in all of its complexities – looking to the past to understand how we live now, telling forgotten stories about forgotten people. As Natalie adds “Its the dream play for me to direct as my first show for Northern Stage – I directed a scene when I was at university and it has really stayed with me for 17 years. Its with Road that I found my vision as a director. It helped me articulate that I wanted to tell stories about the blood, sweat and tears it takes to live life, and that I wanted to fill stages with loud, vivid expressions of what it means to be alive.

The cast are Michael Hodgson (The Pitmen Painters/Live Theatre/National Theatre/West End/Broadway, Get Carter/Northern Stage); Ike Bennett (Curfew/Sky TV with Adrian Lester and Sean Bean); Rosie Stancliffe (Leaving by Paddy Campbell/Curious Monkey); Ryan Nolan (Hyem/Theatre 503, Ryan made his feature film debut as Private Malky in Sam Mendes’ award winning 1917); Nicole Sawyerr (Those Who Trespass/Arts Ed & High Tide Festival, Boom/Theatre 503); Ruby Crepin-Glyne -making her professional theatre debut, Ruby graduated from The Oxford School of Drama in 2019 where she performed at the Sam Wanamaker Festival/The Globe, and The Royal Court in Mark Ravenhill’s Pool No WaterRohit Gokani (Silver Street/BBC Asian Network, A Living Myth/English National Opera, TV credits include Wire in the Blood with Robson Green); Shahbaaz Khan (a recent graduate from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts returning to his home region to make his professional stage debut, credits include Shakespeare in Love/Mountview and Looted/AmazonTV); Philip Harrison (recent credits include The Duke with Jim Broadbent, and Jekyll & Hyde/Northumberland Theatre Company); and Patricia Jones (West End Girls/Live Theatre, film credits include I, Daniel Blake).

As well as opening up the theatre to audiences, Artistic Director Natalie Ibu is creating more opportunities for more artists and creatives to work with Northern Stage, including open calls for casting and freelance roles on the creative team and new ways for local theatre makers to engage, such as open rehearsals and workshops.

Northern Stage is committed to making its work as accessible as possible. As well as performances with BSL,  closed captions and audio description, the company continues to offer socially distanced shows, and Northern Stage at Home allows audiences who aren’t yet ready or able to come to the theatre to watch Northern Stage productions online.

Road is at Northern Stage from 8 – 30 October. Tickets start from £10, book online at northernstage.co.uk or call the box office on 0191 230 5151.

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