News: Young women growing up in the North East explored in female-led double bill at Live Theatre

Part of Live Theatre’s exciting re-opening season is a double bill of plays about young women growing up in the North East – Braids and Cheer Up Slug.

Braids, the debut play from Newcastle-based Olivia Hannah (Royal Court Writers’ Group North, 2018), was long-listed for the Alfred Fagon Award 2018. Directed by Kemi-Bo Jacobs with design by Anna Orton, the production follows Abeni as she embarks on her college experience. She’s putting purple braids in Jasmine’s hair and giving her ‘the talk’, opening Jasmine’s mind to new ways of seeing the world and what it means to be the ‘Ambassador of Blackness’. Olivia Hannah is an Associate Artist at Live Theatre where Braids was first commissioned. It is brought to life by Rochelle Goldie (A Series of Light, Amazon Prime) and Xsara-Sheneille Pryce (Tin Star, Sky Atlantic).

Writer Olivia Hannah comments Braids is a play about friendship, identity and belonging. And hair. It’s inspired by my own experiences of growing up as a mixed-race girl in an English village, all wrapped up in a fictional story about a life-changing friendship, but it will feel familiar to anyone who has wondered where in the world they belong or how to move forward after life takes an unexpected turn.

Also part of the double bill, Cheer Up Slug is a new play by Live Theatre Associate Artist, Tamsin Daisy Rees (Orange Tree Writer’s Collective 2021) about boundaries and behaviour. Will and Bean have been friends forever. But they’re not kids anymore and the adult world is a scary place. In a tent in County Durham, a Duke of Edinburgh Award trip becomes more complicated than either of them planned. Director Anna Ryder (Look, No Hands, Pleasance London and Pitlochry Festival Theatre; Spring Revel, RSC) and designer Anna Orton will guide this production acted by Jackie Edwards (The Dumping Ground, Inside Out, BBC) and David Fallon (Scouts! The Musical, BEAM Festival/Hackney Empire).

Anna Ryder comments, Cheer Up Slug is a smart and nuanced exploration of teenage relationships and consent – the characters are beginning to have the freedoms and responsibilities of adulthood, but they haven’t been given the emotional tools to keep them safe. Tamsin has written a play that allows us to sit in a very human and personal story while opening up some of the big questions our society is still wrangling with.

Live Theatre’s Autumn season also includes Lewis Jobson’s Redcoat, Janice Okoh’s adaptation of The Offing and Bonnie & Fanny’s Christmas Spectacular. Tickets can be booked and more information can be found at Live Theatre’s website.

Tickets are available priced between £10 and £20, and concessions from £6 at (0191) 232 1232 or


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