Sunderland’s Royalty Theatre to stage hard-hitting drama Five Kinds of Silence

The cast of Five Kinds of Silence
The cast of Five Kinds of Silence
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The Royalty Theatre raises the curtain on its first production of 2018 this week.

Hard-hitting drama Five Kinds of Silence will be staged at the community theatre off Chester Road from tonight until Saturday.

Written by North East writer Shelagh Stephenson, whose plays include The Memory of Water and An Experiment with an Air Pump, the play portrays a family living in fear of abusive husband and father Billy.

His wife Mary, and daughters Susan and Janet, have suffered his abuse for years, but have remained silent – until events take a tragic turn.

Director James Errington said audiences can look forward to a powerful, thought-provoking production.

Speaking ahead of opening night, he said: “I fell in love with this show the first time I read it; it’s dark, gritty and very powerful. It’s a pleasure to be able to direct such a play.”

Due to the play’s candid discussion of sexual abuse, the Royalty do not recommend it for anybody 16 or under, though this is purely advisory and not a strict limit.

Originally a radio play, the production will take place in the Royalty’s studio theatre, their first studio production since the sell-out The Vagina Monologues in 2015.

A strong cast includes Lorna Breeze, Helen Bowie and newcomer Becky Watson as the women of the family, and Andrew Barella as Billy. Emma McLeary and Sean Landless, another Royalty debutante, also star.

At least seven plays are produced by the theatre, which was founded in 1925, each season.

Plays remaining this season are:

Rabbit Hole, running from February 19-24

•Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense from March 19-24

•Temple from April 25-28

•Move Over Mrs Markham from May 21-26

•The Wind in the Willows from June 25-30

Tickets for all Royalty Theatre productions can be booked via or on 0333 666 3366.

They are priced at £8 each or £6.50 concessions.