Highlighting the best

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A scheme which brings a true variety of art forms to rural villages, churches and community halls across Northumberland has released a new line-up of shows, running until June.

The Highlights Rural Touring Scheme will present entertainment at a range of venues, from Spittal in the north to Seaton Delaval in the south of the county.

Some of the country’s best small-scale touring companies will be reaching out to parts of Northumberland and making sure that rural audiences don’t miss out on top class productions.

From a menu of more than 20 different shows, reflecting a variety of art forms, each village has chosen performances to suit their community, with local promoters organising the events and bringing fellow residents together for a night out.

The programme will showcase new work alongside firm favourites, with this season including some family comedy adventure, folk tales, fairy tales for grown ups, poetry, a new retelling of Macbeth and even a play where you can eat fish and chips.

Later this month the Tom McConville Trio will be visiting Whittingham Memorial Hall, NTC’s Ugly Duckling will also stop off at Shilbottle Village Hall at the end of the month.

Also featuring in the line up is a solo performance entitled Muse, which focuses on the inspiration for Christopher Isherwood’s Sally Bowles. It explores the woman behind the story of Cabaret, which will be at The Cheviot Centre, Wooler on February 11.

March will feature an exciting Latin musical journal from Spain to South America, combining a collection of original material and traditional songs from the Latin world. It will be at Howick Village Hall on Friday, March 11.

The Cheviot Centre will return to host Woody Holler and his orchestra in April 2016.  

The Canadian Western will be bringing his influenced styles of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers as well as the rustic blue yodeling of Jimmy Rodgers and danceable swing of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys.

A highlight for this season will be in the form of Booth and Son’s Fish and Chip Shop. Box of Tricks Theatre Company is bringing its new production where you take a step back in time to the era of chippy teas and Northern soul. You can sit back and watch the performance while tucking in to some nice fish and chips.

The event will be at Felton Village Hall on Saturday, February 27 and is the first time this venue has been involved with the Highlights Touring Scheme.

Working across Northumberland, Cumbria and Durham, Highlights is one of the largest of the rural touring schemes in England and Wales.

Each year it brings more than 150 performances from national touring companies into the heart of rural villages – 50 of these are performed across Northumberland.

The scheme is able to subsidise performances, making them affordable for smaller communities, and the intimacy of the village hall puts the connection between artist and audience at the heart of the experience.

For full information, visit www.highlightsnorth.co.uk, alternatively you can contact their main office in Appleby on 01768 353954.

Contact the Wooler venue on 01668 282406, Shilbottle on 01665 575196, Whittingham on 01665 574964 and Howick on 01665 577384.