Best Seat in the House – What I’m watching this week

Whilst a lot of us are really missing going to see live performance, the upside is that there is so much fantastic theatre and dance being streamed online that it’s difficult to know where to begin.  So, for those with a little time on their hands or those who just want to watch some great performances, our Head of Performance, Helen Green, is keeping a watch on what’s being shared each week or already online.  Here are her suggestions of just a few of the performances available to watch online in the coming week:

Thursday 6 May

I happened to mention in a work Zoom meeting with colleagues that I’d been watching some fantastic streamed performances over my cornflakes each morning – which led to the suggestion that I share what I’m interested in watching each week. So…after last week’s handful of suggestions of what was being shared by theatre and dance companies – with a bit of poetry thrown in as an extra, here are a few more performances I’m looking forward to watching over the next week, not always over breakfast though!

I’ve watched every one of the National Theatre at Home productions so far and they have all been fantastic. I’ll probably come back to these in the future, but one of my favourites was the cracking performance of Jane Eyre. This is no longer available online but another production of Jane Eyre has surfaced by the fabulous Blackeyed Theatre, so it will be interesting to see how they have tackled Charlotte Bronte’s gothic masterpiece. It is available on You Tube from 19.30 on 10th May – 17th May. Here’s a quick trailer

Last year I went with a group of writers from Sunderland to see Emma Rice’s Wise Children at York Theatre Royal. Emma Rice has produced some astonishing productions over the years for Kneehigh and the Globe. This production adapted from Angela Carter’s novel was quite extraordinary and had us all talking about it on the train back north and it certainly divided opinion. See what you think…

Listening to Luke Wright perform his poetry is an experience to be remembered. His bad boy, punky vibe has been described by The Guardian as “rumbling with rage, passion and humour”. He has performed in Sunderland at The Peacock on several occasions and you can now catch him nightly performing on Twitter at 8pm. Check him out @lukewrightpoet

Finally, whilst last weekend the GIFT festival was successfully transferred online, another festival also managed to do the same. Breakin’ Convention is an annual hip hop dance festival that I got to visit in person last year at Sadlers Wells Theatre and absolutely loved the energy and dynamism of the whole event. They have produced a stripped back version of the festival that includes a number of amazing B-Boy performers – all introduced by the wonderful Jonzi D. Catch the festival here…

Plenty more to see online – and I’d love to hear what others are watching? Twitter @helisme


  • Friday 1 May 2020 - Northern Artists

    To kick off, I thought we’d stay close to home, showcasing performances by northern artists:

    Friday 1 May 2020 – Northern Artists

    Key Change : Open Clasp Theatre Company      
    This is a really powerful theatre show that was devised with women in HMP Low Newton to tour to male prisons. I saw at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2015 when it absolutely knocked me out.

    Winner of The Carol Tambor ‘Best of Edinburgh’ Award 2015, Key Change premiered in New York in 2016 and was the prestigious New York Times Critics’ Pick. Fantastic cast including two actors from Sunderland : Christina Berriman Dawson and Jessica Johnson who went on to win the Journal Culture Award for Performing Artist of the Year in 2018.

    Warning Adult content/language

    Door to Door Poetry : Rowan McCabe  
    Rowan daringly knocked on strangers doors, offering to write a poem for the residents and then collected the poems into a full stage play.   A regular visitor to Sunderland, this is a snippet of the full show that he brought to The Peacock in 2018.

    Rowan is due to come back to Sunderland, performing a new, national version of his Door to Door Poetry at Arts Centre Washington in the autumn.

    1984 : Northern Ballet  (Only available until 2nd May!)
    The original Big Brother.  If you enjoy ballet that tackles darker stories, this version of George Orwell’s novel is one for you.

    GIFT Festival (Gateshead International Festival of Theatre)
    1st – 3rd May
    The festival director, the wonderful Kate Craddock, has demonstrated superhuman powers by transferring the entire international festival to an online programme. GIFT brings really innovative, unusual performances by performers from around the world.

    One I am looking forward to is The North Sea : A (Radio) Play in 3 pints
    Each episode is available to download at 6pm Friday – Sunday.

    I’ll have some more suggestions next Friday but if this has whetted your appetite or you have different tastes in performance to me… there’s plenty more to be found online.


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