Premiere of Tyneside play

The cast of Harriet Martineau
The cast of Harriet Martineau

A new play set in Tynemouth and written by a Whitley Bay-born playwright will have its premiere in Newcastle next week.

Harriet Martineau Dreams of Dancing, by Olivier Award winning writer Shelagh Stephenson, is based on the time spent in Tynemouth in the 1840s of radical thinker, feminist and anti-slavery campaigner Harriet Martineau.

It draws together a talented, experienced cast and creative team from across the region.

In the play Harriet Martineau seeks refuge from the claustrophobic demands of London society, with her needlepoint and a telescope in an attic room in Front Street, Tynemouth.

Instead of escape, Harriet finds an unequal world in need of her attention. This is a world of racial intolerance and gender imbalance, of eccentric scientific practices, such as mesmerism and phrenology. A world where a negligent husband may die from a pig falling on his head in the street.

Music is provided by Northumberland folk group The Unthanks, who have re-arranged songs from their Mount the Air album.

The first performance at the Live Theatre is on Thursday, November 10 and the play runs until December. For information call 0191 232 1232 or see www.live.org.uk