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Summer / Autumn 2019

Join the Theatre Royal Friends and you’ll be ‘Dancin’ in Grey Street’!





with a Friends’ Membership


— and get the best seats first!

Thriller fans are clearly in for a treat when director Anthony Banks promises the stage adaptation of The Girl On the Train “is absolutely packed with twists and turns”. Anthony, after all, has a string of acclaimed thrillers to his credit but even he has to admit: “This has even more twists and turns than I’ve ever had to juggle before.”

Samantha, who came to fame as Mandy in the sitcom Game On and made her EastEnders debut in 2007, admits she misses her co-stars and crew. “I miss my EastEnders friends and family and they really are a family. You go through so much together – marriages, losses, births – and you become incredibly connected.”

The Girl on the Train is as an adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ 2015 bestselling novel. It revolves around Rachel Watson, an unhappy alcoholic who thinks the couple she sees from her commuter train every day are perfectly in love. Then the wife Megan disappears and, as Rachel inveigles her way into the life of Megan’s husband Scott, she finds herself both a witness and potential suspect.

Not being tied into a long-running soap allows her to do more theatre, although she confesses: “The unpredictability of my future is terrifying. Ten years ago when I went into EastEnders I was younger and you embrace the unknown. The older I get the scarier it is, although I’m learning to enjoy it again.”

Before rehearsals the director met with Paula Hawkins and they talked about how Rachel is losing her grip on her identity because of the effect heavy drinking has on her short-term memory. “Because she can’t remember what happened last night or last week she starts to forget who she is. Her identity is eroding and she describes it as a black hole so the design is also a black hole in which appear domestic spaces, a train, a police cell, an interrogation room and also the wasteland by the train tracks.” Rachel is a dream role for Samantha Womack, who recalls being gripped by the novel when she read it, and also a challenging one. “There are about 70 pages of dialogue for me to learn,” says the actress best known for playing Ronnie Mitchell in EastEnders. “It’s like playing Hamlet.” Samantha smiles. “I never shut up.” Having appeared in the West End in Guys and Dolls and toured in South Pacific and The Addams Family, Brighton-born

Anthony raves about his leading lady. “Samantha is outstanding and it’s a great collaboration because she is extremely thorough about understanding not only how her character works but also how all the characters and the whole concoction works.” Rachel doesn’t leave the stage for the entire show. “And that terrifies me,” Womack admits. “I don’t always take things in at first and it wasn’t until the middle of rehearsals that it hit me that ‘Oh, it’s basically just one long scene for me’. I never get to leave the stage and regroup. One scene leads me straight into another and it’s like a dance.” The actress agrees that the show has jolts and surprises whether or not you’ve read the novel. “Yes we’re replicating the story but there are changes and nuances that are very different. I hope that by the time they leave the theatre people been shaken about a bit.” Tickets from £14.50. Call Groups on 08448 11 21 22 to book now. Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge

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Call 0191 244 2511 or 08448 11 21 21 or go Sea.pdf 1 05/02/2019 14:27 to Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge

Party at Sea Enjoy a 2-night Amsterdam mini cruise, with arrival drinks, onboard dining & up to 5 hours exploring the Dutch capital.


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Slimming World

The more the merrier!






Groups get more at the Theatre Royal & City Hall



Bring a group of 10 or more and you receive all the following fantastic benefits…



K Price is subject to availability & based on 4 sharing sea view cabin. For groups of 10+. T&Cs apply. 0344 897 8000

Reserve now and pay later - book your tickets early to ensure you get your favourite seats and we guarantee you will pay the lowest price for your ticket! With nothing to pay upfront, call Group Sales now to reserve your seats on 08448 11 21 22*. *Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge

Cover image: The Bodyguard

“Prepare to be twisted!” – Anthony Banks and Samantha Womack, direct and star in The Girl on the Train, the gripping thriller based on the internationally acclaimed number one best-selling novel by Paula Hawkins.

Womack isn’t as worried by all that dialogue as she is about playing a convincing drunk. “It’s a really hard thing to do,” she says. “Drink is like a truth syrup that removes all the boundaries so rather than a comical element, with the slurring and slipping up, I think Rachel’s just completely unpredictable. It’s about what happens when she’s drunk and where does her brain go?”

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN Mon 29 Apr – Sat 4 May 2019

Generous group discounts on selected performances at the Theatre Royal: 10+ £3 off each ticket, 20+ £3.50 off & free organiser, 40+ £4.50 off, free organiser & free programme

Dedicated group booking phone line

Exclusive rewards with our groups loyalty card

Save 10% on pre-ordered interval drinks

Backstage tours to see what life is like behind the scenes

Save time queuing! Pre-order your programmes and interval ice creams

Fantastic savings on your coach travel to and from the Theatre & City Hall

Priority booking and flexible payment terms

Free season brochures, posters, flyers and sign-up sheets

Free postage for group tickets

Group Sales 08448 11 21 22 Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge Mon -Thu 9am - 5.30pm Fri 9am - 5pm


District Publicity Assistants

Welcome to the summer / autumn 2019 edition of the Groups newsletter which includes information on the fantastic discounts and benefits we offer to make your group visit to the Theatre Royal & City Hall an occasion to remember. Visiting the Theatre Royal Newcastle is even more fun if you are part of a group!

Pauline and Sam provide a personal and convenient link to the Theatre Royal and love to hear from new groups. You can benefit from their expertise when making a group booking and receive exclusive offers on tickets.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Theatre Royal in the very near future. Best wishes Evelyn, Nikita, Pauline & Sam, Group Sales Team

Simply contact them on the details below: Samantha McDine, 07880 741 445 Pauline Wallis, 07880 742 571 ‘I have worked within the Group Sales team for over 8 years now and I love every aspect of my job. I get to be part of an amazing team bringing groups and schools to the theatre. I get a thrill from introducing a new group to the theatre and building a relationship with them; watching their love of theatre grow and being a part of that journey.’ Sam McDine

THE BODYGUARD Tue 23 Jul – Sat 3 Aug 2019

In The Wings...

We sat down with Alexandra Burke, star of The Bodyguard, which arrives at Newcastle Theatre Royal from 23 Jul 2019 to find a little more about the show, and what life is like on tour. Can you give us a brief idea of what the show is about? The Bodyguard follows Rachel Marron, a superstar singer and mother who encounters an intense stalker who will go to any lengths to get to her, so she hires a bodyguard. She discovers that there is more to life than fame and realises the importance of love. The whole story is told using the music of the iconic Whitney Houston. What is it about the role of Rachel that made you want to return to the show, having played the role both in the West End and on tour previously? I think what’s really exciting about the show is that it includes Whitney Houston’s catalogue of work which really makes the show. People always ask me if I get tired of performing the same show six times a week, but I honestly don’t. It’s never the same show each night.

ROCKY HORROR SHOW Mon 5 – Sat 10 Aug 2019

knew that their viewing audiences were mainly made up of lost souls, insomniacs and drunks. What joy!

Why we can never damn it, Janet! An open letter from the writer of the iconic Rocky Horror Show on the show’s enduring popularity...

Rocky Horror sits at the crossroads where Glam Rock disappeared and Punk began. In fact, it heralded in British punk, as Malcolm Mclaren and Vivian Westwood owned a shop just a few doors down from our theatre. Malcolm used to come in on a regular basis and stand at the back of the stalls and watch the evening performances. Perhaps the ‘Don’t Dream It Be it’ lyrics stimulated his own longings.

I have often been asked, why The Rocky Horror Show has enjoyed such a long and wonderful life and I have struggled to provide an answer that pleases anybody, most especially, myself. It is a fairy tale, I say. An homage to all the populist themes from my adolescence. A rock and roll musical that embraces prurient, sexual themes and allows us to snigger like children hearing our first naughty words. Whatever it is and, however it works is, as I say, uncertain, but it never fails to delight and entertain. At the time of its conception, one of my great joys was watching late night television when, sensible people were in bed. At that time the T.V. stations went off air at around the midnight hour and, consequently, they aired many of those creaky old B Movies and Sci Fi films from the fifties as they

Glam Rock has passed away and Punk has had its day but, Rocky Horror continues to roll along and never seems to get tired of doing so. It is my fervent wish that you find this production, as funny and as fresh as ours was for those audiences of forty five years ago. Sincerely, Richard O’Brien Tickets from £19.00. Call Groups on 08448 11 21 22 to book now.Call

How have you prepared for the role of Rachel this time around? I’ve been lucky enough to have amazing experiences with Sister Act, Chess, Chicago and Strictly Come Dancing, so I’m hoping that people will see growth. I’m taking all my experiences and putting them into the show in the hope that people can see that in my performance. I haven’t professionally trained in acting so I draw from a very raw and real place and really feel it, I end up in tears on stage every night. Do you feel any pressure singing such big songs made famous by Whitney Houston? Absolutely. The songs aren’t easy to sing! However, it’s very rewarding. Did you have a favourite Whitney Houston track before you became involved in The Bodyguard, and has that changed? I did, it was I Will Always Love You for ages but having been in The Bodyguard it changed to I Have Nothing. I love performing that in the show.

Are you looking forward to visiting Newcastle with the tour? I like Newcastle a lot, it’s where my fiancé and I had our first date and now we’re engaged! My Dad is always a big fan of Newcastle as he likes going out clubbing! Do you enjoy touring and seeing new cities, or do you find any aspects of it difficult? I miss my family so much; however I always remember that my reward at the end of every day is the audience and them coming out to spend time with us. Have you ever received any words of advice that have stuck with you? Yes, from Whitney herself actually. My mum used to do backing vocals for Whitney she once said to her, ‘my daughter really loves you and wants to be a singer’ and Whitney’s advice to me was to keep working and never stop – to strike whilst the iron’s hot. That’s why in the past ten years I’ve never really stopped as that’s stuck with me. Tickets from £22.50. Call Groups on 08448 11 21 22 to book now. Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge

Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge

Follow Theatre Royal Group Sales to be the very first to hear about what’s on and receive exclusive offers:

Follow Theatre Royal Group Sales to be the very first to hear about what’s on and receive exclusive offers:

We caught up with Mark Foster, one of our Stage Door Keepers to discover what goes on behind the scenes.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Tue 26 Nov 2019 – Sun 19 Jan 2020

Can you take us through your typical working day? There isn’t really a typical working day as you tend to do different things depending on when during the day you’re working. In the mornings we arrive at about half 7 to open up the building for everybody else to arrive. Unlock all of the doors, switch on all of the lights in the different parts of the building, make sure that the stage is lit and everything is ok for the crew to start coming in. Then hand out keys etc at the desk making sure everyone knows where they need to be. We look after post, taking deliveries and tracking schedules. Basically making sure that the building is operational.

For the first time ever the spellbinding pantomime Beauty and the Beast comes to Newcastle Theatre Royal in a spectacular and enchanting production for all the family, starring the legendary Theatre Royal panto stars Danny Adams, Clive Webb and Chris Hayward.

What would you say is the most interesting part of the job? I would have to say meeting new people. Everyone has to come in and out through stage door so you do get to meet some interesting characters! A lot of the Board Members, patrons and actors have to come by so you do get to have interesting conversations with some of them. Has anyone in particular stuck in your head? I’m trying to think what I can actually tell you! There was a very funny moment when one very well-known actor was in. I was chatting to him and mentioned that someone had left him a bottle of whiskey. He picked it up and said “oh thank you very much, that’s for later”, put it in the coat of his pocket, and just disappeared instantly. How did you come to work here? I left my previous job in 2012, went off travelling for a little bit, bit of soul-searching and adventuring. Then came back and was trying to get into acting and the theatre so I did some filming, TV commercials and I thought the theatre would be an interesting place to learn, meet people and also develop my connections. I’ve been here about 4 years now. In that time I’ve done a few different roles, working on-stage as part of the crew and as the events manager at City Hall. It’s a very interesting place to work, there’s always something happening or developing or changing. Anything you’re looking forward to seeing this year? I do quite like The Bodyguard, it’s one of my favourite musicals, I love the film and the music. So I’m quite looking forward to that one.

Join them on a magical adventure to help the beautiful Belle on her quest to unleash the Beauty within the Beast. With everything you’ve come to expect from Theatre Royal’s pantomime; spectacular effects, hilarious comedy and a few surprises along the way, Beauty and the Beast is set to be the North East’s biggest panto ever!

Theatre Royal Groups Experience The Theatre Royal is both neo-classical monument and cultural engine, with an annual audience of 400,000 and over 400 performances each year; the finest drama, the brightest West End musicals, the cream of the comedy circuit, award winning ballet and dance, family friendly shows, sensational opera – and (we think) the best Pantomime in the country! If you would like to learn more about our incredible Theatre we are delighted to offer groups a chance to experience something a little bit different with the following exclusive Groups Tour, Tea and Talk package. Your visit would include:  guided tour – join us front of house, backstage and on-stage A as we give you a tour around the theatre • A talk on the history of Newcastle Theatre Royal & a season briefing with highlights for groups • A copy of The Theatre Royal, Newcastle – A New Short History book for each person (RRP £6.99) • Light refreshments Why not make a day of it and combine it with a performance too? Call Group Sales on 08448 11 21 22 for more information. Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge

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Profile for Newcastle Theatre Royal

Groups newsletter March 2019  

Groups newsletter March 2019