Clear White Light at Live Theatre

Live Theatre, Broad Chare, Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3DQ Thursday 18th October – Saturday 10th November 2018

Charlie Hardwick (Emmerdale) and Joe Caffrey (The Last Ship, Northern Stage/UK Tour); The Girls, West End) will star in Clear White Light by Olivier Award nominated writer Paul Sirett. The world premiere of this modern Gothic story, set at St. Nicholas’ Hospital in Gosforth, will take place at Live Theatre this Autumn.

Inspired by Alan Hull’s time working as a psychiatric nurse at St. Nick’s, and set against the backdrop of cuts to the 70-year-old NHS, the play features many of the hit songs Hull wrote for Lindisfarne at that time, including Winter Song, Lady Eleanor and Clear White Light. These will be performed by an amazing live on-stage band whose performers include Ray Laidlaw and Billy Mitchell of Lindisfarne.

Clear White Light is a modern interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Fall of the House of Usher. Originally commissioned by Max Roberts, Live Theatre’s Emeritus Artistic Director, it is thefirst play at Live Theatre to be directed by its new Artistic Director, Joe Douglas, with Max and Joe working closely together to bring the play to life.

The cast comprises Charlie Hardwick, who makes her return to Live Theatre’s stage after starring in Emmerdale, Live Theatre regular Joe Caffrey who was most recently seen in Live Theatre productions Iris and Cooking with Elvis, and Bryony Corrigan who recently starred in Live Theatre’s popular romantic comedy, My Romantic History, alongside newcomers to Live Theatre, actor Dale Jewitt, and actors and musicians Phil Adèle and Alice Blundell.

Actor Charlie Hardwick says, “I am over the moon to be performing at Live Theatre after 16 long years away. Clear White Light is a belter of a play and I get to sing the brilliant songs ofLindisfarne’s Alan Hull. How could I resist? I first saw Live Theatre in my home town of Wallsend in 1980 and they inspired me to become an actor. In 1988 I landed my first job with Live Theatre and went on to perform in over twenty glorious productions. Some of my happiest times have been working in that intimate little jewel of a theatre on the Quayside. I can’t wait to be there again.”

Max Roberts, Emeritus Artistic Director comments, This play has been in development for a numberof years, as I have worked with Ray to find the right story to bring the life and music of Lindisfarne’sAlan Hull to the stage. Working with Olivier Award nominated writer Paul Sirett enabled us to combine the elements into a play that has drama, suspense and of course the fabulous music of Lindisfarne, which we hope will be appreciated by those that already love their music and by a whole new generation.

Joe Douglas, Artistic Director says It is an honour to be able to work with Max in such an in-depth,creative way on Paul Sirett’s new play – a poignant, contemporary story set at St. Nick’s hospital inthe year which marks the 70th birthday of our NHS. For me, it exemplifies what a Live Theatre playshould be: funny, moving, entertaining and a bit political. It’s pretty eerie too, in time for Halloween,and we are echoing that gothic feel in the set design. We have a cracking team of actors and creatives to realise this fantastic play, as my first full length production here at Live Theatre.

Ray Laidlaw says, “We’ve been working with the wonderfully creative team at Live Theatre for a long time, searching for the perfect vehicle for Alan’s great songs which doesn’t rely on cliché. Clear White Light is just that – it’s fresh and inventive, and I’m sure it’ll introduce Alan’s music to a whole new audience.”

Billy Mitchell added Alan was profoundly touched by his time at St. Nick’s, caring for people with mental health issues. The music he wrote around then – often while on duty – has stood the test of time. Unfortunately the NHS hasn’t fared so well, something Clear White Light addresses head-on.

Writer Paul Sirett will give a free post show talk after the 2pm show on Saturday 20th October and Musical Directors Ray Laidlaw and Billy Mitchell will take part in a post-show talk after the 7.30pm performance on Wednesday 24th October. Both talks are free for ticket holders for that performance and will be recorded and available to listen again at www.live.org.uk/talks.