Kind words for theatre group

A scene from Stranded, written by Val McDermid, one of the four plays which makes up Northumberland Theatre Company's 4words production.
A scene from Stranded, written by Val McDermid, one of the four plays which makes up Northumberland Theatre Company's 4words production.

AS Northumberland Theatre Company embarks on its final Arts Council-funded tour this evening, the group has received backing from two North East writers.

4words opens tonight at the Alnwick Playhouse before heading out on a 20-date tour.

Award-winning crime writer, Val McDermid, who lives in Alnmouth and has donated her short story Stranded for NTC to adapt for this tour, thinks it is a disgrace that the Arts Council has failed to recognise the importance of the theatre company’s work in bringing plays, old and new, to rural communities.

She said: “What NTC does is bring that power within the reach of people for whom the theatre is not an obvious or easy possibility. In a county where the population is as widely scattered as in Northumberland, it offers the only realistic access to live theatre for a disproportionate number of citizens.

“I feel honoured that they have chosen to adapt my stories as part of the programme of their latest tour. Donating the use of my work to this project feels like a very small contribution.”

Whitley Bay-based playwright Noreen Rees, who wrote her first professional commission Not Some Kind of Sideshow for 4words, has also backed the group.

l 4words is at the Playhouse tonight and tomorrow. 7.30pm. Tickets are £8.50, £7.50 conc.

It is on at Bamburgh Pavilion on Saturday, March 10. 7.30pm.

Tickets are £7.50 from the Wyndenwell or contact 01665 721061 or 01668 214634. All proceeds go to the upkeep of the Pavilion.