box office 01642 525199

You are here


PLACE Commissions

In conjunction with Festival of the North East, ARC devised and managed the PLACE Commissions, five seed commissions of £2,000 each designed to stimulate new theatre and performance work as part of the Festival in June 2013.

In autumn 2013, a brief was issued inviting artists and companies interested in exploring ideas around the theme of ‘place’ to submit their ideas. The commissions were not necessarily intended to fund a finished piece of work, but to provide time and resources to develop ideas. Selected artists were expected to share this process with the public in some way as part of the Festival.

In addition to financial support of up to £2,000, each commission will be paired with a regional partner – a venue, cultural organisation, local authority or other appropriate body – who can offer mentoring and practical support as well as host the development process.

The selected companies for the PLACE commissions were:

  • Alex Swift & Keiran Hurley - Violence
  • Larkin About - Know Your Place
  • Jenny Lawson - Lay Down Your Ghosts, Journeys Through The North East
  • Oscar Mike - Wall
  • Switchback - Pier Project


The Comedy Course

The Comedy Course ran in Spring 2013 and offered a unique insight into stand-up comedy for a beginner.

Whether you have a burning ambition to become a stand-up comic, or just fancy giving it a go this course is ideal for you. We cannot promise you are going to be the next Michael McIntyre but we will teach you the basics on writing, stage craft, delivery and the UK comedy circuit, and you will get to perform at a showcase gig, with MC Matt Reed, at the end of the course.

Course leader Peter Vincent from Ten Feet Tall is a comedy scout and has curated hundreds of shows giving him a keen eye for future talent and the formula for comedy gold.

Peter will be running the sessions with a number of professional comedians popping along to give pointers, answer questions and help with your material.



In Spring 2013, ARC was delighted to work with colleagues at Live Theatre in Newcastle to present Live ARCADE, a showcase of work developed through ARC’s artist development scheme. The showcase was a huge success, with all four performances selling out!

The Trials of an Invisible Man
Written and performed by Michael Edwards

A comic adventure combining spoken word, stand up comedy and theatre. Paying affectionate homage to HG Wells’ character and to classic science fiction and horror movies, the Invisible Man wrestles with his own inner torment, ghosts from his past and a giant Komodo dragon.

Written and performed by Claire Murphy-Morgan

One day in March, a woman has a diary containing intimate reflections on the last three years of her life stolen from her car. Searching amongst wheelie bins and rubbish for her discarded words, she reconsiders her past, her values, and what she can find through what she has lost.

Good Breeding
Written and performed by Kate Fox

What's life for if you don't want children? Stand up, writer and Radio 4 regular Kate Fox uses this funny, thoughtful feel good show to try find the answer. Join her journey which might involve baking, sea monkeys and the singing of Happy Birthday.

Written by Dan Perry and directed by Helen Ferguson

Waiting for Godot meets The Hangover in a new play about the perils of the stag do. Tim was unsure what to expect from his brother-in-law’s stag do, but a chance encounter with the Stag’s lager-swilling and self-titled ‘best mate’- the mysterious Mr. Jazz - leads to inebriated mayhem. But Tim’s intuition senses something more sinister at play...

Northern Elements

Northern Elements was a project funded by Arts Council England and managed by ARC to support the development of spoken word promoters in three Northern regions: North East, North West and Yorkshire.

In summer 2012, ACE and ARC piloted the project in the three regions, working with a spoken word promoter from each region to curate and present a spoken word event. The project then expanded, taking on board learning from the pilot, and worked with six promoters from across the North area, two from each region.

Elements of the project included:

• Supporting six promoters each to stage a Northern Elements spoken word night
• Pairing promoters up with established venues to provide professional platforms for the events
• Six commissions for artists to create new spoken word work for the events
• Full days training for promoters and venues, as well as ongoing mentoring

ARC acted as project managers, planning and delivering the central management of the project, supporting promoters to select artists to commission and plan, market and manage each individual event. They were also responsible for delivering the training and evaluation of the project.

The venues involved in the project were Alnwick Playhouse, Arts Centre Washington, Bluecoat in Liverpool, Fruit in Hull, The Continental in Preston (They Eat Culture) and The Orangery in Wakefield. They worked with spoken word promoters Charlotte Bowen, John Challis, Michael Egan, Joe Hakim and Robin Talbot.

The six artists commissioned to write and perform new work as part of the project were Kate Fox, Alexander Kelly, Joe Kriss,Chris McCabe, Phil Ormrod and Hannah Jane Walker.

Devoted & Disgruntled

Since the beginning of our artist development programme in 2010, we have worked with more than 200 artists and performers, all of whom are contributing to a rich and vibrant scene right here in Stockton, in Teesside, in the North East.

Devoted & Disgruntled provides an opportunity to take part in a unique nationwide conversation.

Devoted & Disgruntled began in 2006 when Phelim McDermott of Improbable invited people who were ‘devoted and disgruntled’ to come together around the question ‘What are we going to do about theatre?’ It was an open and collaborative conference, a chance to check in with the theatre community, share news about what was being done well, what could be done better and take action on how to improve things.  

Devoted & Disgruntled has subsequently become an inspiring annual three day event, with more than 100 offshoot events, including some here in the North East run in conjunction with The Empty Space. These events have kept the important conversations alive and have led to companies being formed, venues being opened, festivals started, shows created, and many other projects and initiatives.


Amuse Bouche
Autumn 2012

An initiative with Apples and Snakes designed to support artists moving towards professional performance, working with three poets in Autumn 2012. Andrew Sclater, Elaine Cusack and Rowan McCabe created short performances for cafe and bar settings.

This followed on from success in Autumn 2011, when the first Amuse Bouche collective of poets included Michael Hann, Sky Hawkins, Aidan Clarke, Poetry Jack, AJ McKenna and Degna Stone.


Student showcase:
Sister Sister by Charlotte Gray and Francesca Collier

Aug 2012

Two members of our network for performing arts students, ARCADE Student, performed their final project from Teesside University’s Performance for Live and Recorded Media BA course. The show was a mixture of live performance and film - based on the story of Whatever Happened To Baby Jane and follows two sisters - one a former child star living in the shadow of her now more successful sister – follow the two and find out what will come of their jealousy and rivalry...


Short Sharp Festival
May 2012

The first of its kind at ARC, The Short Sharp Festival featured rehearsed readings of 10 short plays written by local writers, directed and performed by ARCADE members in May 2012.

New Playwright's Laboratory

In 2012, ARC and tutor Andy Willoughby ran The New Playwrights Laboratory which explored the skills and techniques of playwriting at an advanced level and consisted of  inspirational writing workshop sessions alternating with close practical examination of scripts. The course led to work with actors and directors to put on ten minute pieces, culminating in The Short Sharp Festival – a day long festival of new writing.


ARCADE Scratch Night: New Writing Special
Feb 2012

ARC showcased new plays from six of the region’s emerging writers – all graduates from Teesside University’s Creative Writing MA. Actors and directors collaborated with the writers to develop the plays.

Four ARCADE Students took part in the evening, which gave them the valuable opportunity to work with professional directors and actors from the region and to perform at ARC.


ARCADE Student Scratch Night
Feb 2012

ARC's first ARCADE Student Scratch Night presented work in progress from some of the region’s most exciting performing arts students; the evenings theatre makers, film makers and performers were all 3rd year students from Teesside University’s Performance for Live and Recorded Media BA course.  The night included an eclectic mix of live performance and film and at the end of the evening the audience gave their feedback on all of the excerpts.


McCrumble’s Ethical Dilemma (Durham University)
Nov 2011

In 2011, we were approached by Dr Mark Booth from Durham University’s School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health to collaborate on a school’s project called McCrumble’s Ethical Dilemma. Stemming from Mark’s interest in parasitology, he had written a book based upon a character called Joseph McCrumble – an eccentric celebrity scientist with some controversial views on the world of parasitology. The aim of the project was to create a piece of theatre, inspired by the book and Dr Booth’s academic interests into the ethics of parasitology, which could be performed in schools to spark debate amongst science students around the ethical dilemmas that arise from the treatment of parasites.

Dr Booth said of the project:

"Funding from Beacon North East has allowed me to finally bring the blog and book of Dr Joseph McCrumble – maverick parasitologist and one-time celebrity scientist - to the stage.

ARC recruited a director to lead the project, Scott Young (of OddManOut) alongside a team of three actors and one technician and the company rehearsed at ARC for two weeks before performing at three schools in the region.

This project provided an original opportunity for a creative team to work with Dr Booth to produce a high quality, educational piece of theatre for a schools audience."


Verb New Voices
Oct 2011

This spoken word talent development project with BBC Radio 3, paired local writers Michael Edwards with mentor Simon Munnery and Degna Stone with mentor Zena Edwards to develop new work, broadcast on The Verb in Oct 2011.