Bay playwright backs final show

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A WHITLEY Bay based playwright has given her backing to a touring theatre company.

Noreen Rees has joined crime writer Val McDermid, in getting behind Northumberland Theatre Company as its final Arts Council funded production – 4words tours rural venues across the region.

The Alnwick-based theatre company, which has been touring theatre to rural communities for over 30 years, in a bid to help the company secure vital funding to ensure its survival once its status as a regularly funded organisation by the Arts Council ceases

Noreen, who wrote her first professional commission Not Some Kind of Sideshow for 4words, said: “I wanted to work with NTC because I liked their ethos.

“Not only do they take theatre to hard to reach communities but they also have a fantastic track record in commissioning new work from writers, like myself as well as giving many young actors their first professional experiences.”

4words, which also features plays from Lee Mattinson and Rachel Barnett is a quartet of quirky, quixotic, quality plays performed by a cast of six actors including NTC regulars, Nigel Collins and Eleanor Dennison.

Four exciting, highly talented young actors from NTC’s final intake to its InterACT programme – Nadia Emam, Steven Pilman, James Laurence Hunter and Georgina Hall – will also be taking part in the f

NTC’s artistic director Gillian Hambleton said: “We’re hugely grateful for this support from Val and Noreen and all our writers.

“The work that NTC has provided over the past thirty years through our exceptionally high quality rural touring theatre productions is far too good to lose and we’re determined to survive.”

The company, which has plans to tour a new production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the summer and Grimm Tales by Carol Ann Duffy in the winter – not under Arts Council funding – has recently received £20,000 of support from the Foyle Foundation and £10,000 from The Joicey Trust and is hopeful of success in requests to other Trusts and Foundations and in their application to the ACE Strategic Touring Monies, the outcome of which will be known at the end of April.

Gillian added: “Support for NTC from audiences, venues, promoters, village halls and artists, has been overwhelming.”

Visit www.northumberlandtheatre.co.uk for further information.