Northumberland’s Rural Touring Scheme has announced details of its new spring season of shows.
Between January and June, the Highlights initiative, in partnership with a network of village halls throughout the county, will be presenting a wide-ranging programme of performances by some of the finest touring companies from across the UK, Canada and Norway.
From Norham to Knarsdale and Haltwhistle to Hepscott, village promoters are getting ready to host a total of 25 shows, making sure that rural audiences don’t miss out.
Theatre, dance, children’s shows, music, poetry, rhyming and ranting are all in the mix.
The theatre programme showcases new writing and Edinburgh Festival hits, alongside personal stories, family adventure and classic works with a twist.
Performances include an ingenious recreation of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, a riotously funny re-staging of Hollywood blockbuster Gladiator, and a revival of Arthur Miller’s Two-Way Mirror.
Music offers a cross-culture, cross-genre mix of sounds from satirical tunes and swing jazz to world, folk and Klezmer music from Eastern Europe. A performance from Canadian fiddle family The Fitzgeralds also features impressive dancing from these Ontario Step Dance Champions.
Dance has a stronger presence this season, thanks to a national initiative to bring more of it to village halls. Award-winning Lost Dog Dance appears alongside Oslo’s Panta Rei Dance Company, which will be in residence in Northumberland for a week, working with school and dance groups prior to its performance. Both performances fuse dance, storytelling and music.
Highlights continues its partnership with Contact East, enabling the scheme to bring some of the best artists from the eastern provinces of North America to rural Northumberland, giving small communities access to world class performances.
These include appearances from Canada’s “hottest guitar ensemble” De Prinz, and from three times Canadian Grandmaster Fiddle Champions, Everything Fitz.
For families and young ones there’s a re-telling of Aesop’s The Boy Who Cried Wolf by award-winning poet Dommy B.
The season extends into June with a special collaboration between Highlights and the Morpeth-based November Club. The company has worked with eight Northumberland communities whose stories have inspired the creation of a musical about rural life in the 21st century.
Beyond the End of the Road is performed by a cast of 10, with special appearances from local talent, and it brings the season to an end with a post-show ceilidh.
See highlightsnorth.co.uk for the full line-up.