Playwrights in bitesize format

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The first play in a new series to showcase the best of the writing talent in the North East is coming to Alnwick Playhouse next week.

Queen’s Hall Arts, which manages the Queen’s Hall in Hexham, is moving from hosting theatre productions to producing them.

As well as continuing to bring the best touring productions to Northumberland, it is about to embark on a region-wide tour of specifically-commissioned pieces by new writers from the north.

Known as Bitesize Plays, as each piece lasts approximately 40 minutes, Queen’s Hall Arts (with support from the Arts Council) will work with new writers to develop talent and produce high-quality, small-scale touring work that will excite and challenge audiences when they tour the North East between February and April.

Three will tour Northumberland and will be showcased at Alnwick Playhouse. The Next Train To Depart is the first Bitesize Play of 2014 and will be performed next Saturday at 1.30pm. Tickets £5.

The Next Train To Depart has been described as Brief Encounter for the 21st century and tells the story of Kayleigh (a call-centre worker) and Dan (an aspiring poet) as they repeatedly meet over cold coffee on a train station concourse.

Written by North East poet John Challis, of Newcastle based Trashed Organ, The Next Train To Depart is a poetic play about a chance meeting, a platform to nowhere and the baggage we try, in vain, to leave behind.

John was awarded a Northern Writer’s Award in 2012 by New Writing North.

Other Bitesize Plays will be coming to Alnwick later in the year. Wishbone, by Newcastle writer Laura Lindow, is on Wednesday, March 19, and Never Forget, by Lee Mattinson, who has written a number of shows for Live Theatre, on Tuesday, April 1. For more, visit www.alnwickplayhouse.co.uk