Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Hard News in these Hard Times

We at The Zoo are saddened to hear of the proposed 100% cut to arts funding in Newcastle. If ever there was a city that has proven the value of culture and the arts as a way of regenerating and re-inventing itself, then it is Newcastle.

Some of the best, most innovative, and most influential companies and venues are based in the North East. Without Northern Stage and writer Alan Lyddiard, we would not have been able to produce our version of 1984; it was Alan's script that we used. Live Theatre hosted the world premiere of Lee Hall's 'The Pitmen Painters' which went on to be presented in the West End and on Broadway. It is due to tour again in 2013 and we'll be there to see it when it arrives at The Alhambra in Bradford.

But it isn't just theatres and venues that will go. There are ten libraries under direct threat of closure. To curtail access to books and learning in this way is an insidious act of cultural hooliganism and social engineering. Limiting learning only to those who can afford to access it is this Government's clear policy. Lee Hall, the writer mentioned above, has written a heartfelt and impassioned letter to the leader of Newcastle City Council urging him to resist taking this catastrophic action. The letter articulates things much better than I could so please check out for the chance to read it.

So to all our fellow creative people in Newcastle and the North East; we send you our support and best wishes. Stay strong and keep on keeping on!


Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Hard (Times) Work Begins

Thanks to everybody who came along to the audition workshop recently; your time and interest in the project was much appreciated. Details of the cast for Hard Times will be posted shortly on here and at the Paper Zoo website.

So, now the hard work begins. Stuart Davies, who will be directing the project, has been busy adapting the novel into a workable script. A recent read-through of the draft version gave us a good idea of how it will work, with plenty of suggestions for the overall design of the production being discussed, as well as more ideas about the characters themselves.

As we found with Charles Dickens' work when we performed 'A Christmas Carol' previously, the atmosphere and the dialogue is all there for you. The characters are so well-drawn, so vividly brought to life, that the problem is which ones to leave out! We think that we've just about got it right for now but, as always, things could change during the rehearsal period.

We have two dates booked already for our Spring and Summer tour: we will be at The Square Chapel in Halifax on the 23rd of May 2013, and at Otley Courthouse on the 5th of July. We hope to have publicity material ready fairly soon so keep an eye out for posters and fliers in the New Year.