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Novelty at the end of the '90s

Article | Published in TES Newspaper on 25 September, 1998 | By: Timothy Ramsden

Introducing a four-page pull-out guide to this season's repertory and touring productions, Timothy Ramsden looks at how the stage is attracting young theatre-goers

In the Fifties, it was the angry young men - now dead or exhausted. Only Pinter remains a dramatic presence from that age, and he was never officially 'angry'. The late Sixties saw the wild generation, iconoclastic in social taste and theatrical convention alike. When the Eighties generation came on line, it seemed theatre was doomed in the name of comedy, the more so as celluloid offered a more lucrative career than theatre for writer and performer alike. Why tire yourself out touring when your work could be beamed nationwide and beyond and you have evenings off?

Yet the new school has come back to the stage - Mark Ravenhill, Patrick Marber, Ben Elton and Irvine Welsh; writers whose best work speaks to older teenagers in terms of today and does not yet need decoding or serving up as "good for you".

This isn't to say new angles can't be found on old chestnuts. Take The Ghost Train, Arnold Ridley's Twenties comedy-thriller, which was showing at the Bristol Old Vic recently. When was the last time you saw, or heard, a show with a star curtain-call for the sound effects? Here was a reconstruction of the first production's multi-person creation of a train with drums and roller, reprised in full view after the show as a lesson in old-style production techniques.

Contrasting news from the North-West. Chester Gateway is shut for the autumn in a bid to save Pounds 50,000.

With Manchester's Contact theatre going up in smoke just as the Lottery refurbishments were completed, the main cause of cheer must be the reopening of the Royal Exchange in December. No better declaration of continuity in Manchester's theatre tradition than Helena Kaut-Howson's revival of Hindle Wakes by Edwardian local lad Stanley Houghton. The Exchange's brave season is announced through to 2000 - early shows are listed below. There's a new 120-seater studio too, and Exchange education director John Butterly will no doubt have a fine programme of events (tel: 0161 833 9333).

Theatres now offer young people all kinds of education activities. Southampton's Nuffield came up with a creative response to requests for work experience, inviting applicants to a week's intensive rehearsal during the summer. Twenty turned up and spent a week preparing a storytelling piece presented on an August Saturday.

Chances to develop skill in writing for theatre remain comparitively rare, so it's good to find the new writing company Paines Plough addressing the situation with their Ticket to Write. The programme hits the stage this autumn, starting at Bolton.

Meanwhile, the search has begun for writers, active or potential, aged between 16 and 25 in Tyneside, County Durham, Teesside, Northumber-land and Cumbria for the second programme. Ten writers will be chosen to write a short play for Newcastle upon Tyne's Live Theatre and a tour next spring. The deadline for entries is November 23 and anyone interested is encouraged to contact Lucy Morrison at Paines Plough on 0171 240 4533.

The deadline for volunteers for a Madshow, involving actors, singers, musicians, dancers and technical whizzes, in Exeter is October 16. Details from Jodie Baker at the Northcott.

Repertory around the country

South West

Plymouth: Theatre Royal (01752 267222) Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Sept 29 to Oct 10; Smokey Joe's Cafe, Oct 19-24; Jack and the Beanstalk, Dec 18 to Jan 30; Drum Caryl Churchill's Top Girls, Oct 1-17 (also at Salisbury); Orchard Theatre co-produce Cinderella's Arabian ancestor The Cinder Girl, Dec 8-26, then Clear Day's co-production of Gary Carpenter/Simon Nicholson musical, based on Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Emperor and the Nightingale', for eight to 13-year-olds, called China Song - dates to be confirmed. Primary school workshops available, contact the education department on 01752 223929.

Barbican (01752 267131) A staging of Lee Hall's radio piece Spoonface Steinberg, Nov 17-21; Phil Smith's panto probe Beauty and the Beasties, Dec 17 to Jan 17.

EXETER: Northcott (01392 493493) She Stoops to Conquer, to Oct 17; Method and Madness in their staging of James Ellroy's Black Dahlia, Oct 22 to Nov 7; George's Marvellous Medicine, Nov 10-14 (see On Tour); community offering 24 Hour Madshow, Nov 20-21; Dick Whittington, Dec 9 to Jan 16.

Bristol: Old Vic (0117 987 7877) David Feldshuh looks at 1930s US government abuse of black people for medical research when Santa Fe Stages arrive from New Mexico with Miss Evers' Boys, Oct 7-31; A Christmas Carol, Nov 7 to Dec 5; regulars Chris Denys and Chris Harris dish up the panto Mother Goose, Dec 10 to Jan 30.

New Vic Dickens in America, Oct 7-17; Ekome offer a dance drama celebration of African and Caribbean history in Unity, Oct 20-24; animation from Storybox Theatre in The Half Chick, Oct 27-28; northern writers go west in Paines Plough's Northern Exposure, Oct 30-31 (see On Tour); Black Theatre Co-operative offer hip-hop futuristic musical Trickster's Payback, Nov 3-7; Bristol Old Vic Theatre School bring a multi-authored Jacobean drama Eastward Ho!, Nov 11-21; Travelling Light's The Last Tyger, Nov 24-28 (see tours), disco-crazed Irish couple in Disco Pigs, Nov 30 to Dec 5; Tamasha bring Bombay Hollywood to the British Stage in Fourteen Songs, Two Weddings and a Funeral, Dec 8-12; Generally Better Productions show friendship blown apart by passion in Bond, Dec 15-19; Theatre Alibi's show for the young The Night Before Christmas, Dec 21-23; ITF Productions combine London motorcycle couriers and cannabis in Freebird, Jan 6-30.

Salisbury: Playhouse (01722 320333) Claire Luckham's adaptation of Moll Flanders, Oct 8-31; Ayckbourn's Just Between Ourselves, Nov 5-28; panto regulars Colin Wakefield and Kate Edgar create Aladdin, Dec 5 to Jan 16.

Salberg Studio Sean Street's one-man play Beyond Paradise: Charles Darwin - The Wild Life of a Gentleman, Oct 12-14; local company Bootleg in anarchic crime comedy by Trevor Suthers, The Boys are Back in Town, Oct 15-17; Caryl Churchill's modern classic Top Girls, Oct 22 to Nov 7; Birmingham Stage Company in Mamet's Hollywood play Speed the Plow, Nov 17-21; musical entertainment with Michael Lunts and Roger Leach's Three's Company, Dec 9 to Jan 9.

Southampton: Nuffield (01703 671771) Abi Morgan's Skinned, Oct 20-24, is a thriller touching on racism and set in Manchester (also touring locally - contact box office); then romantic fiction in the Roger Hall/A K Grant/ Philip Norman musical Love Off the Shelf, Oct 28 to Nov 28; director Patrick Sandford adapts Alice in Wonderland, Dec 3 to Jan 16; dirty revelations thanks to a Chicago murder in Douglas Post's Earth & Sky, Feb 4-27.

South East

Basingstoke: Haymarket (01256 465566) What the Butler Saw, Oct 13-31; William Dinner and William Morum's psycho-thriller The Late Edwina Black, Nov 3-14, comes down from Keswick; Canterbury Tales, Dec 11 to Jan 9, as taken from Chaucer and musicalised by Martin Starkie, Nevill Coghill, Richard Hill and John Hawkins; All-Electric Puppet Theatre in Tony Birch's Lost in Monster Wood, Dec 19-23, for five-year-olds and over; comedy thriller Gerald Moon's Corpse!, Jan 20 to Feb 6; Method & Madness in their very Russian Cherry Orchard, Feb 9-13.

Newbury: Watermill (01635 46044) Philip Goulding sets Gogol in 1860s Wessex with The Government Inspector, to Oct 3; David Hare's drama of conscience Skylight, Oct 6-31; football crazy Watermill Youth Theatre in soccer show You Make Me Happy When Skies Are Grey, Nov 4-7; comedy music hall Nov 13-21; Frank Gabrielson's adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, Dec 3 to Jan 16.

Hornchurch: Queen's (01708 443333) Mike Leigh's suburban satire Abigail's Party, Oct 9-31; Ken Hill's musical horror comedy Phantom of the Opera, Nov 6-28; rock panto Dick Whittington and His Kool Kool Cat, Dec 4 to Jan 24.

Southend-On-Sea: Palace (01702 342564) Michael Rattigan invites adults only to his comedy The Real Monty, Oct 6-24; Ayckbourn's desperation in a garage Just Between Ourselves, Nov 5-21; Peter Pan, Dec 4 to Jan 2; Agatha Christie's Murder is Easy, Jan 14-30, adapted by Clive Exton, Marie Jones's Women on the Verge of HRT, Feb 2-20; Northern Broadsides in Twelfth Night, Mar 8-13.

Dixon Studio Cornucopia in local writer Don Hill's Tomorrow We'll Be Sober and Dead Man Talking, Oct 7-10; Southend Shakespeare Company offers Othello, Nov 3-7 Eastern Angles bring M R James ghost stories as A Warning to the Curious, Nov 13-14.

Watford: Palace (01923 225671) Phyllis Nagy adapts Patricia Highsmith's crime tale The Talented Mr Ripley, Oct 2-24; writer David Lan directs The Glass Menagerie, Nov 6-28; comedian Roy Hudd writes the panto Jack and the Beanstalk, Dec 5 to Jan 9; and director Jonathan Holloway (of Red Shift) writes a sinister double-bill Darkness Falls, Jan 29 to Feb 20.

East Anglia

Colchester: Mercury (01206 573948) Two co-productions arrive from Nottingham, The Boy Friend, Oct 13-31, then Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Nov 12-28; Pat Trueman and Fine Time Fontayne's Cinderella, Dec 11 to Jan 17.

Ipswich: Wolsey (01473 253725) Mother Courage and Her Children, to Oct 10; Moli re's mean comedy The Miser, Oct 15 to Nov 7, a post-nuclear Macbeth, Nov 12 to Dec 5; Neil Bartlett's version of A Christmas Carol, Dec 10 to Jan 9; Ayckbourn's comic trilogy The Norman Conquests - first Table Manners, Jan 14-23; then Living Together, Jan 27 to Feb 6; followed by Round and Round the Garden, Feb 10-20; the three in repertory Feb 23 to Mar 6, when there's a final day trilogy. The Glass Menagerie, Mar 11 to Apr 3.

Northampton: Royal (01604 632533) Stoppard's Seventies probe into journalistic ethics Night & Day, Oct 2-17; Pilot Theatre's Lord of the Flies, Oct 20-24; Terry Johnson's adult look at comedy and comedians Dead Funny, Oct 30 to Nov 28; Vilma Hollingbery's panto Humpty Dumpty, Dec 9 to Jan 16; Marie Jones's Women on the Verge of HRT, Jan 20-30; and director Michael Napier Brown's adaptation of Dombey and Son, Feb 6 to Mar 6.

East Midlands

Leicester: Haymarket (0116 253 9797) A View from the Bridge, Oct 8-24; Richard III, Oct 30 to Nov 21; the Betty Comden/Adolph Green/Nacio Herb Brown/Arthur Freed musical Singin' in the Rain, Dec 4 to Feb 6.

Studio Krapp's Last Tape with Edward Petherbridge, Oct 6-10; day times Garlic Theatre's puppet George and the Dragon, Oct 20-21; Pop-Up's Field of Fire, Oct 22-24; Tim Newton and Michael Dalton's play based on Of Mice and Men; crazed Irish siblings in Enda Walsh's Disco Pigs, Nov 3-14; Manticore in The Pit, Nov 26-28; the Haymarket's 18+ group offer this new play inspired by a Sixties Japanese film Onibaba about two women who murder wounded soldiers. Delightfully named One Nation Under a Groove . . . lnnit offer Ravi Mangat and Ashok Patel's Arrange that Marriage, Dec 1-12, a comic revue on the named subject; Action Transport in a play about friendship Jack and the Little Fir Tree, Dec 15 to Jan 9, for up to seven-year-olds; Youth Theatre 15s-18s in Barry Hines and Allan Stronach's adaptation of Kes, Jan 13-16.

Nottingham: Playhouse (0115 941 9419) The Boy Friend, to Oct 10; Vibe, Oct 14-17, is the umbrella title for performances and workshops to mark Black History Month (details from box office); Albee's great drama Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Oct 22 to Nov 7; music, dance, theatre and comedy in-cluding Steven Berkoff with examples of the Shakespearean Villain! (13) and Ken Campbell's Theatre Stories (14) in mini-fest 11:98, Nov 10-14 (details from box office); Jack and the Beanstalk, Dec 5 to Jan 23 (previewing from Nov 28).

Derby: Playhouse (01332 363275) A novel season: Mark Healy adapts John Fowles's early gripper The Collector, Oct 2-17 (also at Edinburgh); Shared Experience revive their mighty Anna Karenina, Oct 20-31; Method & Madness bring the sweet scent of murder in director Mike Alfreds's adaptation of James Ellroy's The Black Dahlia, Nov 10-21; Michael Vivian and director Mark Clements provide Babes in the Wood, Nov 28 to Jan 23.

West Midlands & South Wales

Cardiff: Sherman (01222 230451) New Frank Vickery Pullin' the Wool, Oct 6-17 about the perils of moving up in the housing market; Volcano in Ayckbourn's Time of My Life, Nov 2-3; Charles Way's Enid Blyton-based The Secret 7 Save the World, Nov 20 to Jan 9.

Studio Mappa Mundi's King Lear, Oct 13-17; English Shakespeare Company International offers bouncy castle and plastic pellets in a nursery-set Richard III, Oct 21-22; a Welsh language David Hare Skylight, Nov 20-21; Birmingham Stage Company's Speed the Plow (see tours), Dec 1-3; co-production with London's Unicorn of Brendan Murray's Something Beginning With, Nov 5-7; Dec 7 to Jan 2. For under sevens, this is a story of unkind Jake, unco-operative Ruby and reconciliation in time for tea and RumbleJumbleTumble cake.

Milford Haven: Torch (01646 695267) Tim Firth's Neville's Island, Oct 13-24; Jeanette Ranger's and Christopher Lillicrap's Christmas Cat and the Pudding Pirates, Nov 26 to Jan 2; Susan Hill/Stephen Mallatratt ghost play The Woman in Black, Feb 2-20.

Worcester: Swan (01905 27322) Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Oct 1-17; more Talking Heads, Oct 29 to Nov 14 (Her Big Chance, Soldiering On, A Cream Cracker Under the Settee); Pilot Theatre's Lord of the Flies, Nov 17-21; Philip Monks' version of A Christmas Treasure Island, Dec 1 to Jan 2.

Stratford-upon-Avon: Royal Shakespeare Theatre (01789 295623) The School for Scandal, Oct 9-24; Richard III, Oct 27 to Nov 14; Adrian Mitchell's version of C S Lewis's The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Nov 24 to Dec 5, 18-19, 23, 26 to Jan 2, 6-7, 9, 11, 13-14, 20-21, 23, 27-29, Feb 5-9, 12, 16-18, 20-23 and 27; The Winter's Tale, Dec 10-17, 21-22, Jan 4-5, 8, 12, 15-19, 22, 26, 30 to Feb 4, 10-11, 13-15, 19, 24-25.

Swan Brian Friel's post-Turgenev A Month in the Country, Nov 25 to Dec 5, 11-15, 17-18, 21-23, 26-29, 31 to Jan 2, 5-6, 8-9, 11-14, 16-19, 21-23, 26-28, 30 to Feb 2, 5-6, 9-11, 13-16, 19-20; Troilus and Cressida, Dec 8-10, 16-17, 19, 30-31, Jan 2-4, 7, 9-11, 15-16, 20-21, 23-25, 28-30, Feb 2-4, 6-8, 11-13, 17-18, 20 (check box office for details of matinee and evening dates).

Coventry: Belgrade (01203 553055) Good Company offer Pride and Prejudice, Sept 28 to Oct 3; vicars on the hoof in Philip King's See How They Run, Oct 5-10; Belgrade Youth Theatre joins the company for a Coventry blitz drama in Rony Robinson's It's A lovely Day Tomorrow, Oct 15-31; Smokey Joe's Cafe Nov 2-7, offers Lieber and Stoller songs; early Ayckbourn visits in How The Other Half Loves, Nov 9-14; Dave Simpson rudery on Girls' Night Out, Nov 23-28; panto Sleeping Beauty, Dec 8 to Jan 23.

Birmingham: Repertory Theatre (0121 223 64455) Hamlet, to Oct 10; Romanian director Silviu Purcarete brings the National Theatre of Craiova in his version of The Oresteia, Oct 20-24; Chekhov's Three Sisters, Oct 30 to Nov 21; The Snowman, Nov 26 to Dec 5; Michael Bogdanov directs his adaptation of A Christmas Carol, Dec 11 to Jan 16.

The Door Judy Upton's Confidence, to Oct 3 and 22-24; Nov 19-25 shows lust and violence on the Shoreham sea front; in Maureen Lawrence's Twins, Oct 7-21, Nov 12-18 husband-sharing, spendthrift Mimi and Gigi wait in the attic as their house is repossessed. It's a comedy. Down Red Lane, Oct 28 to Nov 11, 26-28 is Kate Dean's dysfunctional millennial Christmas drama, set in a fog-bound quarry. Then comes Tyrone Huggins and Theatre of Darkness's Sounds in Session, Dec 10-12, anger in a recording studio; followed by Tamasha with film fave Fourteen Songs, Two Weddings and a Funeral, Dec 15 to Jan 9, and Moving Theatre with two monologues: Corin Redgrave in Wilde's De Profundis, Jan 13-14, 21, 23-25 and 27-29; and Malcolm Tierney with Just Not Fair, Jan 11-12, 15-22, 26, 29-30, developed with director Jessica Dromgoole and Jim Robinson, one of the Bridgewater Four released last year.

North Staffordshire: New Victoria (01782 717962) Ayckbourn's Comic Potential, to Oct 10, 29-31; John Godber's caravan comedy Perfect Pitch, Oct 13-20; Tim Firth's Love Songs for Shopkeepers, Oct 22-28; Othello, Nov 5-28; David Holman's version of A Christmas Carol, Dec 3 to Jan 9.

North West

MOLD: Clwyd Theatr Cymru (01352 755114) Anthony Hopkins Theatre Ayckbourn's Norman conquests trilogy Table Manners Oct 1-10, Nov 10-2, 20, 27, Dec 1, 4; Living Together Oct 15-24, Nov 13-16, 25-26, 28, Dec 2; Round and Round the Garden Oct 30-Nov 9, 17-19, 23-24, 28-30, Dec 3; full trilogy Nov 21, Dec 5; Peter Rowe and Alan Ellis's Aladdin; The Wok 'n' Roll Pantomine Dec 11-Jan 23.

Emlyn Williams Theatre Of Mice and Men Oct 19-Nov 7, 16-21, Oily Cart in Pass the Parcel Dec 9-31, for 2-5s.

Liverpool: Everyman (0151 709 4776) Guiding Star to Oct 31, looks at the Hillsborough disaster through its effect on one Merseyside family. Writer Jonathan Harvey, made famous by Beautiful Thing, began his career with a prize-winning piece in a youth drama festival at Liverpool Playhouse Studio. See how far he has come when his new piece moves to the Royal National Theatre after its Everyman debut.

The Everyman hires out Liverpool's Royal Court Theatre for Cultural Industry's visit with the much-praised Shockheaded Peter, Nov 10-14; back home there's Write Now! 98, a young people's writing programme for new Jonathan Harveys; rock 'n' roll panto in Frank Jones and Jeremy Raison's Jumpin' Jack Flash, Nov 26 to Jan 30 - armed only with a few beans, Jack has to save Liverpool.

Manchester: Library Theatre (0161 236 7110) New Neil Simon in Jake's Women to Oct 10; Ibsen's A Doll's House, Oct 22 to Nov 21; Philip Pullman's traditional adventure Puss in Boots, Nov 27 to Jan 16; Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Feb 5 to Mar 6. Wythenshawe Forum (0161 437 9963) Women on the Verge of HRT to Oct 10; Stuart Paterson's The Snow Queen, Nov 13 to Jan 2.

Royal Exchange (0161 833 9833) Stanley Houghton's Hindle Wakes, Nov 30 to Jan 9; Canadian Brad Fraser's Martin Yesterday, Jan 13 to Feb 6, is a sexually explicit account of a cartoonist turning his back on a superficial world; Ibsen's Peer Gynt, Feb 10 to Mar 13.

Oldham: Coliseum (0161 624 2829) Crazy Gang musical Underneath the Arches, to Oct 10; Gerald Moon's Corpse!, Oct 15 to Nov 7; Not the National Theatre in Debbie Isitt's The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband, Nov 23-28; director Kenneth Alan Taylor's panto Dick Whittington, Dec 5 to Jan 23; Ayub Khan-Din's comedy of 1970 Salford children coming to terms with the varying expectations of their Pakistani father and English mother East is East, Jan 28 to Feb 20; Northern Broadsides' Twelfth Night, Feb 22-27.

Bolton: Octagon (01204 520661) Homecoming for Jim Cartwright's pub round-up Two (it started life at the Octagon as To), to Oct 17; Bolton writer Les Smith's Early One Morning, Oct 22 to Nov 14, follows a Great War Bolton soldier-hero-turned-"deserter"; The Wizard of Oz, Nov 19 to Jan 23; Pat and Margaret, Jan 28 to Feb 20, is Victoria Wood's development of her TV tale of poor and affluent sisters.

Bill Naughton Studio New writing company Paines Plough join the Octagon for 11 short premieres under the title Northern Exposure, Oct 21-24; Dominic McHale's The Resurrectionists, Nov 25 to Dec 5, updates body snatchers Burke and Hare in a comedy of Rochdale grave-robbing.

Lancaster: Duke's (01524 66645) Rage among outward-bound businessmen on Neville's Island, to Oct 10; more rage on campus in Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Oct 29 to Nov 21; David Wood's version of Roald Dahl's The BFG, Dec 3 to Jan 2.

Yorkshire and North East

Sheffield: Crucible (0114 276 9922) All Credit to the Lads, to Oct 17, is Alan Plater's latest addition to the widening field of football plays; Northern Stage's A Clockwork Orange, Oct 20-24; Twelfth Night, Nov 12 to Dec 5; South Pacific, Dec 17 to Jan 23.

Studio Sheffield Gang Wars rage again in the Performance Project's New Dealers, Oct 2-3; Kneehigh deliver Strange Cargo, Oct 8-10; Compass offer Jekyll & Hyde, Oct 13-17; visual theatre company Told By An Idiot offer their Lorca piece I Weep at My Piano, Nov 9-11; from York comes Brian Patten's Gargling with Jelly, Dec 3 to Jan 2.

Hull: Hull Truck (01482 323638) Macbeth, Oct 7-31, Eighties musical Gold!, Nov 26 to Jan 16; John Godber's Unleashed, Jan 20 to Feb 13, sends local lads to Amsterdam's red light district.

Leeds: West Yorkshire Playhouse (0113 213 7700) Quarry From America, comedian Steve Martin brings together creative giants from C P Snow's Two Cultures, Einstein and Picasso at the Lapin Agile, to Oct 10; Northern Broadsides offer a new version of Tony Harrison's Greek revival The Trackers of Oxyrhyncus, Oct 15 to Nov 14; then Martin Guerre, Nov 28 to Feb 13, finds his way north in a revised version of the Boublil/Schonberg musical about a soldier returning from war.

Courtyard New ensemble company offer three book-early classics The Seagull, Oct 29 to Dec 5; Coward's Present Laughter, Dec 10 to Jan 23; The Tempest, Jan 28 to Feb 27.

Harrogate: Theatre (01423 502116) Romantic publishing in Roger Hall/A K Grant/Philip Norman musical Love Off the Shelf, to Oct 10 (also Southampton); Oxford Stage's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Oct 13-24; David Hare's story of personal and political conflict Skylight, Nov 5-21; Aladdin, Dec 11 to Jan 9; Coward's Blithe Spirit, Jan 21 to Feb 13.

York: Theatre Royal (01904 623568) Lord of the Flies to Oct 10; Marie Jones's Women on the Verge of HRT, Oct 14-31; Godber's Bouncers, Nov 4-21; Brian Patten's tale of adventures against the Sensible, for over-4s, Gargling with Jelly, Nov 10-21 (also at Sheffield); Berwick Kaler turns up to star in his panto Beauty and the Beast, Dec 15 to Jan 30.

Scarborough: Stephen Joseph (01723 370541) A Doll's House, Oct 21 to Nov 21; Ayckbourn directs his new piece for all over-5s The Boy Who Fell into a Book, Dec 1 to Jan 9, in which a young bibliophobe falls into a wonderland of literature; Cheap and Cheerful, Dec 18 to Jan 30, is a revue comprising work by Stephen Joseph writers past, present and resident. Ayckbourn directs a revival of Haunting Julia, Feb 4-13, then touring. All in The Round Auditorium.

Newcastle upon Tyne: Northern Stage (0191 230 5151) Stuart Paterson's The Princess and the Goblin, Nov 30 to Jan 9.

Gulbenkian Studio Chris Speyer and Ieuan Goch ab Einion's play for the very young about a machine that changes colours Out of the Blue, Nov 19 to Jan 9.

Scotland

Musselburgh: Brunton (0131 665 2240) Strong Arthur Miller family drama The Price, to Oct 10; David Cosgrove's Buddy Holly show Three Steps to Heaven, Oct 13-17; Brunton Youth Theatre in Liz Lochhead's Cuba, Oct 22-24; James Murray/George Drennan's Cinderella, Dec 1 to Jan 9.

Edinburgh: Royal Lyceum (0131 248 4848) Stuart Paterson has adapted Zola's murderous masterpiece of naturalism Ther se Raquin, Oct 9-24; two men from Derby arrive in Mark Healy's version of John Fowles's The Collector, Oct 30 to Nov 21; Stuart Paterson's The Snow Queen, Dec 4 to Jan 9; Rattigan's drama The Deep Blue Sea, Jan 15 to Feb 6, offers middle age pre-Look Back in Anger angst; James Bridie's classic of Burke and Hare's body-stealing client Dr Knox The Anatomist, Feb 12 to Mar 6.

Traverse (0131 228 1404) Benchtours and Insomniac Productions combine in Carnivali, Oct 2-4, by Michael Duke and Steve Kettley, a surreal tale of love and death in a stage B-movie. In Nicola McCartney's Heritage, Oct 16-18, then Highlands and Islands tour, two young people in Canada on the verge of the First World War find their relationship cemented then fragmented by Irish myth and history. 7:84 Scotland visit with Stephen Greenhorn's Dissent, Oct 24 to Nov 1, about political loyalties in Glasgow following a Labour election victory. Lung Ha's Theatre offer a devised piece scripted by John Harvey, Remembering Hildegard, Nov 7-11, music-led memories in hectic New York from a company setting out to challenge received ideas of learning disability; while Graham Cunnington's performance of Pain, Nov 26-29, explores his chronic battle with rheumatoid arthritis. In The Happy Gang's Castle of Adventure, Dec 3-12, the said folk get stuck in a snowbound castle over Christmas - mysteries abound in every room. Meanwhile, back in the Catholic church, a corrupt Scottish cardinal seeks to become the new pope in Christopher Dean's piece for MCT Theatre Smells and Bells, Dec 3-6. Theatre Flux bring Difficult People, Dec 9-13, by Israeli Yosef Bar-Yosef and translated by Adi Geva and Emily Harris, set in London and about a Jewish brother and sister's conflicting views on her marriage.

GLASGOW: Citizens' (0141 429 0022) Giles Havergal with a production of Ena Lamont Stewart's story of 1930s poverty, Men Should Weep, to Oct 17; Pinter's The Homecoming, Oct 30 to Nov 14; Stuart Paterson's adventure Merlin the Magnificent, Nov 24 to Dec 26.

Circle Studio Jon Pope adapts Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher, to Oct 17; Seneca's Medea, Oct 29 to Nov 21; Frank Marcus soap star drama The Killing of Sister George, Dec 3-23.

Stalls Studio Translators Phoebe van Held and Nina Pearlman offer enlighten-ment from the Enlightenment in Diderot's Rameau's Nephew, to Oct 17; Mamet's sexism battle Oleanna, Oct 28 to Nov 21; director Robert David MacDonald's Summit Conference, Dec 2-23.

PERTH: Theatre (01738 621031) Larry Shue comedy The Nerd, Oct 9-24; William Archer's adaptation of Henry James's The Innocents, Nov 6-21; Marie Jones's Women on the Verge of HRT, from Nov 27 to Dec 12; Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp, Dec 18 to Jan 9.

DUNDEE:Repertory Theatre (01382 223530) Return of Chris Rattray's fun at the mill show The Mill Lavvies, Oct 10-24; Frank McGuinness's play of Orangemen in the trenches Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, Nov 4-21, a piece remarkable for the balance it maintains despite being built around the reminicences of an angry old soldier; Neil Duffield's adaptation of The Jungle Book, Nov 28 to Jan 9.


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