Bitesize Theatre is on the Menu

A tour of ‘bite-sized theatre’ shows is to start across South Tyneside next month.

The Cultural Spring Project Co-ordinator Emma Scarr explained: “The idea behind our Bite-Size Theatre project is to introduce good quality, short shows into local communities, giving people of all ages an opportunity to see something different in venues in their own neighbourhoods.

“The four shows, which will each tour five venues, were chosen by a panel which included local community arts champions and representatives from the Cultural Spring. The idea is to offer lunch or tea before or after each of the performances and the shows will be timed around lunch or tea time to make it easier for people to attend.”

The four shows are: Wee Red and Her Wolf, a tale inspired by Little Red Riding Hood from author Laura Lindow; Best in the World, a hilarious story of personal achievement told through the world of darts; The Annual (Inaugural) Walter Plinge Memorial Lecture, in which writer Eric MacLennan explores true – and not-so-true – stories from South Tyneside, and Becoming Scheherazade, a play incorporating some of the 1001 stories of the Arabian Nights with the real story of Arab immigration to Europe.

Wee Red and Her Wolf will be touring the borough from Saturday, February 24 and venues will include Whitburn Parish Hall; the Scout Hut in Highfield Road; South Shields; Jarrow Hall and The Customs House. The show will start at 12 noon at each of the venues, and soup and sandwiches will be served after the 45-minute performance, a modern-take on the Red Riding Hood legend which is aimed at children aged seven or older.

Best in the World will be performed by Newcastle-based Unfolding Theatre during the week starting Monday, March 12. The one-man show, exploring what it means to be the best in the world, and one man’s journey through the world of darts, will tour venues including South Shields Football Club ground; Whitburn and Marsden Social Club; The Customs House and The Red Hackle pub. The show recently completed a successful tour across the UK.

Eric MacLennan’s show, a comic telling of the story of South Shields, will tour during the week starting April 16 at venues including Hebburn Library, Jarrow Hall and Age Concern South Tyneside in South Shields. “Eric’s show is really quirky, something really different. He’s been collecting stories and anecdotes around Shields and his lecture I’m sure will be really funny – if not entirely truthful,” explained Emma.

Becoming Scheherazade was performed at last year’s Edinburgh Festival by Kamaal Hussain to excellent reviews and weaves the story of Sinbad the Sailor into his own family’s migration from Iraq to the UK. Emma added: “Kamaal put on a special performance for us at last year’s Edinburgh Festival and everyone came back buzzing – it’s a moving, touching story brilliantly told.”

Becoming Scheherazade will be performed in The Customs House, South Shields Football Club, Jarrow Hall and another, yet-to-be-confirmed venue during the week of March 22 to 28.

“Our four shows are very different but I think all of them will entertain, fascinate and educate audiences across South Tyneside,” said Emma.

Information about the shows, including venues, timings and ticket information is available here.