County theatre group comes to the four!

FROM murder mystery and whimsical comedy to an inspirational tale of courage and determination – a mixed bag of treats is in store as a professional theatrical group takes its latest production throughout Northumberland, and beyond.

Popular Northumberland Theatre Company (NTC) will tour 4words during March.

This exciting show comprises four new short plays by northern writers, including work from international best-selling crime writer Val McDermid and hugely talented Coronation Street storyliner Lee Mattinson.

The show brings together Steven Pilman, Georgina Hall, James Laurence Hunter and Nadia Emam – talents from NTC’s training scheme InterACT which is to be axed following funding cuts – with NTC professionals Nigel Collins and Eleanor Dennison.

And the production’s director Gillian Hambleton says a ‘thrilling night of entertainment’ awaits audiences who come to see the production, which will be performed in Alnwick, Bamburgh, Etal and Morpeth, among others, next month.

She said: “It is exciting for us to do this show and it will give our audiences something different.

“It is a very different piece and is a real mixed bag of plays, with something for everyone.

“It is a joint show between NTC and some of the trainees who have been through InterACT and this will be their final performance.”

4words, which is designed by Michelle Huitson, is made up of plays entitled Stranded, Not Some Kind of Sideshow, Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit and Boiling Point.

Stranded, by north Northumberland-based Val McDermid, has been adapted for the stage by NTC and is inspired by her short stories.

Gillian said: “Val wanted to support NTC so we approached her to see if she had anything we could turn into theatre and she said we could have a book of her short stories.”

Not Some Kind of Sideshow, by Noreen Rees, is a story about courage, hope and determination, while Rachel Barnett’s Boiling Point is a whimsical view of 35 years of married life as seen through the rise and fall of four kettles.

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit, by Lee Mattinson, is a simple but sensational half-hour of hope, hatred and heartbreaking honesty. Set at an Ann Summers party, Gillian says it is ‘a bit naughty but not offensive’.

Each of the four plays are around 25 to 30 minutes long.

The show is suitable for those aged 15 and up, as it contains adult themes.

As well as Northumberland, NTC is performing the show far and wide, including in Nottinghamshire, Leicester and Stranraer.