Taking centre stage

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AFTER the critical success of Northern Stage’s five-star spring headline show, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, the venue looks to build upon its reputation by announcing an autumn season exploring the enormous theme of humanity.

The theatre’s autumn programme will encompass contemporary drama, comedy, dance, storytelling, improvisation, new writing, poetry and photographic exhibitions with a hint of pre-Christmas magic thrown in for good measure.

Top of the bill in Stage 1 this season is Oh, The Humanity and Other Good Intentions (September 9-24) directed by Erica Whyman and designed by Andrew Stephenson.

This evening of five short, funny, touching plays penned by New York playwright Will Eno, offer five different glimpses of the absurdity of being alive.

The entertainment at Northern Stage is accompanied by its further commitment to nurturing and developing new writing and creative education.

Erica Whyman, artistic director and chief executive of Northern Stage, said: “In spite of tough times, the last 12 months has been a story of success for Northern Stage in which we have made some exceptional theatre and attracted lots of new people through our doors.

“I’m thrilled to announce our new season which just gets better and better.”

Other season highlights include:

l If you’ve ever learnt a little Spanish and wanted to make use of it, then why not come along and see Lorca: Amor en el Jardin (Love in the Garden, October 6-11) a co-production with Théâtre Sans Frontières.

The evening is spoken in Spanish, although is very easy to follow for English speakers.

l This autumn isn’t all about adults as there’s something to enjoy for very young people with the welcome return of balletLorent’s co-production with Northern Stage for under fives, Underneath the Floorboards, October 19-22.

The show sold out earlier this year and will be hitting the road on a national tour after its stint at Northern Stage.

l If you’re partial to some high-quality international dance then you’re in luck, as Stage 1 will be hosting Happy as Larry by Australia’s Shaun Parker & Company presented by Dance Touring Partnership, October 21-22.

It combines a mix of ballet, break-dance, roller skating and physical contemporary dance.

l Tales from the Universe sees Stage 2 turned into a Planetarium as the theatre is plunged into total darkness – recreating an aura of the Universe.

Sound&Fury’s Going Dark reawakens society’s wonder at the cosmos and reveals how one man’s vision becomes illuminated by darkness, November 4-5.

l Northern Stage is renowned for pulling out all of the stops around the festive season and 2011’s offerings are The Glass Slipper (November 28 to January 7) and Shhh A Christmas Story, under sixes and their families, November 14 to January 14.

The Glass Slipper is an enchanting adaptation of one of the oldest stories ever told.

When Ella’s father remarried, little did she know what adventures awaited her.

Her new stepmother and badly-behaved sisters make her life a misery and won’t allow her to go to the famous Northumberland Ball – the biggest, most extravagant party the North East has ever seen.

Shhh A Christmas Story is a new story written by Susan Mulholland and directed by Mark Calvert, set on Christmas Eve where a very excited Boo has to go with her dad to work at an old library.

Join Boo on her adventure into a maze of books, up ladders and into the book shelves meeting cheeky and sneaky characters along the way.

l For more information visit www.northernstage.co.uk