Theatre Royal Newcastle Gateshead

Normality is on the horizon. After nearly 18-months of lockdowns, restrictions, tiers, tears and time at home - it is nearly showtime once again in NewcastleGateshead. 

As part of the UK government's reopening roadmap following the coronavirus restrictions, guidelines changed from 17 May to allow indoor gatherings to take place as well as the safe reopening of attractions, restaurants indoors and the much anticipated return of entertainment, theatre and live performances.

Theatres in NewcastleGateshead decided not to reopen immediately but plans are in full swing which mean that you will very soon be able to take your seats and get ready for the most dramatic curtain raiser at theatres across the North East. After a 15-month interval… what have you missed most about going to the theatre? 

It goes without saying that the most recent government announcement (on 14 June) pushed back the full lifting of lockdown restrictions until at least 19 July. This has understandably impacted the way theatres were planning on operating. Please do check with the theatre directly at the time of booking to view their up-to-date reopening information and all the precautions in place to keep you safe when you can attend.

Newcastle is blessed with an excellent breadth of theatres from the majestic Theatre Royal on Grey Street to Northern Stage which is located on Newcastle University's city centre campus, and a 20-minute metro journey south of Newcastle and theatre-lovers will find Sunderland Empire.

From blockbuster West End shows to new creations from independent theatre companies and producers - there is a fresh and exhilarating line-up to throw you back into the world of theatre in 2021 whether you are a local Geordie or looking for a reason to experience a city break in Newcastle and Gateshead.

Take a look at our guide to theatres reopening in the North East.

Tyne Theatre and Opera House

Newcastle's Tyne Theatre & Opera House is a Grade One listed theatre which originally opened in 1867 - so it has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the past 150 years or so. Back for a new season and itching to welcome you back, families are the first to be reintroduced to the joys of live theatre at Tyne Theatre and Opera House.

Tickets are available for their springtime, socially-distanced Panto (29 May - 6 June) which takes place over May half term, socially distanced Maximo Park (25 June) but will be back with a variety of big shows including comedy from John Bishop (14 October) and classic puppet-theatre Avenue Q (9 & 10 July). 

It's been a tough year for theatres but your support has been so gratefully received. Tyne Theatre and Opera House invite you to join their Friends' Club which is an annual membership (£25) with perks including access to pre-sale tickets and a free theatre tour.

Northern Stage

Northern Stage head outdoors with Out on the Toon outdoor theatre in Newcastle during June 2021

Northern Stage in Newcastle is an independent theatre famed for its creativity and innovation; nurturing local talent Northern Stage also prides itself on delivering a programme of theatre and performance by local writers, producers and a diverse range of creatives. 

Northern Stage are starting to reopen by bringing theatre to you in outdoor spaces across the North East's neighbourhoods. The commissioned series of performances - Out On The Toon - will take place from 1 - 30 June 2021.

Audiences and artists will be welcomed back indoors to Northern Stage from 25 August with a programme that reflects diverse stories and communities. The new season, which is dubbed Housewarming, celebrates local freelance artists, independent companies and the Northern Stage team coming together to make work in the North East, about the North East, with North East artists, for North East audiences, with productions that reach beyond the ordinary, and where nobody is left behind.

Check out what's on from the return of The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff (September 2021) and The Invisible Man (February 2022) to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (November - December 2021) perfect for families eagerly planning Christmas activities.

Discover the full season programme from Northern Stage here.

Live Theatre

Live Theatre is tucked away on Newcastle Quayside and, like our other theatres, has been closed since March 2020. During the lockdown, Live Theatre has created and shared a series of innovative and original digital performances including 10 Minutes... to Call Home. Live Theatre using their closure time wisely and have commenced a three-month refurbishment project which will see significant improvements to their physical space, the Live Theatre audience experience and accessibility. 

While there may be options for outdoor experiences in August in the Live Garden, we're looking forward to what will be a busy autumn/winter season of live and original performances inside Live Theatre from September 2021. Live Theatre will return with an excellent programme in the Autumn when the season kicks off (Thursday 2 September) with Kema Sikazwe’s ground-breaking debut play Shine.

In the meantime, check out Boogie On Up with Bonnie and the Bonnettes online. 

Sunderland Empire

Dreamgirls Sunderland Empire near Newcastle 2022 l r Ibinabo Jack Liisi La Fontaine and Amber Riley in Dreamgirls West End Credit Brinkhoff Moegenburg

Sunderland Empire is a 20-minute metro ride from Newcastle city centre and must-visit theatre for fans of blockbuster performances. Sunderland Empire is an opulent example of fine theatre venues and an ideal location to experience the thrilling return of live performance. An official launch is yet to be announced but we've spied a raft of shows already on the line up that are bound to brighten up your autumn in Newcastle. 

Check out West End's favourite leading lady Alexandra Burke when she takes to the stage at Sunderland Empire in the adaptation of My Best Friend’s Wedding - The Musical (October 2021). Jimmy Carr will be returning with all the laughs in November 2021 and tickets are currently on sale for one of the most glamourous musicals around - Dreamgirls (February 2022).

Theatre Royal, Newcastle

Theatre Royal Newcastle can be found in the iconic Grade 1 listed building on Grey Street and has been closed since March 2020 - we’re sure you’re itching to return. A great choice for show-stopping theatre and a wide range of blockbuster performances, Theatre Royal Newcastle is ready to get going and has a stellar line-up for theatre fans in 2021. Join us in Newcastle this summer for a city break packed with culture and theatre for all the family when Bedknobs and Broomsticks (August 2021) finally makes its world premiere at Theatre Royal Newcastle.

Musical aficionados will be spoilt for choice with the return of big hitters including Six! (July 2021), Everybody's Talking About Jamie (October 2021) and Waitress (March 2022).

Kynren - Outdoor theatre

Kynren and 11 Arches Park near Newcastle 2021

If you're buzzing for outdoor theatre this summer then you must look out for Kynren which makes a welcome return in August and September 2021. Kynren is a spectacular outdoor theatre experience that takes place against the magnificent backdrop of Auckland Castle in County Durham. This family-friendly event is a feast for all the senses and a brilliant way to enjoy the long summer evenings in the North East. This year, the organisers have added a new, daytime attraction perfect for families which includes its own thrilling live performance. Have a look at what to expect at 11Arches Park. 

Live Music…

It doesn't just stop with the long-awaited reopening of theatres but live music will be back too! The iconic Sage Gateshead will reopen with socially distanced live performances from June as part of their aptly titled New Beginnings series. Keep an eye out on Sage Gateshead's website and social media for updates to their line up this summer. 

Utilita Arena

There will be hundreds of you gig ticket holders who are chomping at the bit to see your favourite bands, performers and musicians at Utilita Arena. Newcastle's arena have worked hard over the last year to reschedule concerts which will take place over the next months and years! 

However if you ever needed a reason to visit NewcastleGateshead then stop by for some homegrown comedy from husband-wife duo Chris and Rosie Ramsey who will be rolling out their award-winning podcast Sh**ged, Married, Annoyed live at Utilita Arena (8 & 9 September 2021). Music megastar and award-winning pop queen Dua Lipa will blast onto the stage for her rescheduled tour dates in Newcastle on 13 September 2021. You may be forgiven for thinking that you've emerged from your home office and elasticated waistbands to find yourselves back in the early 00s as Steps (with guest Sophie Ellis Bexter) and Gary Barlow (with guest Leona Lewis) bring their tours to Newcastle's Utilita Arena. 

Just a reminder...

You know the drill by now folks… while we still live in hope that life will safely return to ‘normal’ – there may be bumps in the road(map) so the information is accurate when it was written but may be subject to change. We are doing our best to update and refresh content but please, always check the websites of the theatres and performance venues directly.

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Kynren Summer 2021
Kynren Summer 2021

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