Monthly archives: December 2010

Happy Christmas and New Year

Uploading is now complete on all of our COME TO WHERE I’M FROM podcasts. Something to do over the festive period… have a listen and let us know what you think. We’ll be in touch in January with more exciting news, but in the mean time we hope you have a lovely Christmas and new year. Happy listening.

Come To Where I’m From – Manchester

Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Every day in the lead-up to Christmas, we’re podcasting a collection of short plays about a particular area of the UK, written and read by playwrights. Collectively, the plays form Come To Where I’m From, a theatrical tapestry that asks whether home is truly where the heart is.

There’s an article on the Guardian website about the project by our artistic directors here.

Today, we’re taken around Greater Manchester by Lucinda Cardy, Sarah McDonald Hughes, Rory Mullarkey and Chris Thorpe with a visit to Rochdale courtesy of Phil Davies. We co-commissioned Lucinda, Phil, Sarah, Rory and Chris as well as Burnley-born Joy Wilkinson with our good friends at the Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester, where we first presented the plays.

You can read about Lucinda, Phil, Sarah, Rory, Joy and Chris’s favourite bits of the areas they grew up in below and listen to all five plays here – LISTEN NOW TO COME TO WHERE I’M FROM – MANCHESTER.

A guide to the favourite places of where we’re from – by Lucinda Cardy, Phil Davies, Sarah McDonald Hughes, Rory Mullarkey and Chris Thorpe.

Sackville Gardens, Manchester. Specifically the statue of Alan Turing that sits on a bench there. One of my heroes and the fact that statue’s there says so much about the reasons I love Manchester. [ct]

St. Ann’s square. It’s got terribly nice fountains. [lc]

The Temple, Oxford St, and Night and Day, Oldham St, Manchester. Cheating to have two places but they’re both bars and most importantly full of memories, music and friends. I couldn’t decide between them. [ct]

The Ritz. I used to go to The Ritz on a Monday and Wednesday night in the mid nineties.  It was a student night but I think everyone in there was under 18.  I thought it was the most amazing place in the world, it seemed to have been invented just for us and I can still recall the desperate sensation of wanting the night to never end.  I’ve been back since, to gigs and that, and there will always be something about that building. [smh]

The Ritz, Manchester

The Ritz, Manchester

The Baum (Rochdale). In a town notorious for it’s no-go pubs, The Baum serves as a haven for quality boozing. [pd]

The Baum, Rochdale

The Baum, Rochdale

Widdop. Reservoir and moorland above the town and almost as wild. [jw]

The Market Hall. Not quite the same without the fag smell from the cafs, but still pie-tastic. [jw]

The Market Hall, Burnley

The Market Hall, Burnley

Burnley Mechanics and Burnley Youth Theatre. Oases for arty types. [jw]

Manchester Central Library because that big reading room echoes (I hope they keep the echo in the refurb). [lc]

The Cobbled Hill. There’s a steep cobbled hill somewhere round the back of Piccadilly, I’m not sure where because I’ve only been down it a few times.  I wondered if I imagined it but then I saw it in Queer as Folk when Stuart and Vince get away. One day I’m going to find that hill again. [smh]

Lowton Moss. A heathland area near Lowton where the first ever passenger railway ran (and the first fatal railway accident occurred when Stephenson’s Rocket ran over an MP). I’ve spent a lot of time there over the years in various states. It’s about the industrial past of the area, the hedonism of growing up there, and it’s unexpectedly beautiful. [ct]

The Stockport Viaduct. 11 million bricks, nearly 2 years to build, the second largest brick structure in the world when it was built. Can’t argue with that: it’s a behemoth. [rm]

Stockport Viaduct

Stockport Viaduct

Vinyl Exchange (Oldham Street, Manchester). Still, I think, the best record shop I’ve ever been to ever in the world ever. [rm]

The xmas market, near the carol singers. [lc]

Lyme Park. You can climb up a hill and see the whole of Manchester. Dead small, like. But still. Beautiful. [rm]

Ashworth Valley (Rochdale). Here is where you’ll find those glorious hills and streams; an endless playground to explore. For people of any age. The giant chimneys a vivid reminder of the area’s proud history. [pd]

Ashworth Valley, Rochdale

Ashworth Valley, Rochdale

Rochdale Train Station (Rochdale). Such a crucial part of my life was escaping Rochdale for the subversive lure of Manchester. Northern Rail, I thank you… [pd]

My Street. I live in Moss Side and my street is long and thin and looks like one of them drawings that show perspective.  The houses are terraced and when I’m walking towards my house I can see the rain reflected on the roofs and the sky stretching above.  Down the alley opposite there are still some of the old gates of the Maine Road stadium.  When I think about Manchester I think about my street. [smh]

The Beetham Tower. I didn’t really think anything about the Beetham Tower til I was writing my play The Tower for Come to Where I’m From.  But now, like Lily in the play, I’m a bit obsessed with it.  I look out for it wherever I am in town.  I love how it seems to watch everything.  And when you go up it, and you can see the whole of town, all at once…it’s brilliant. [smh]

Beetham Tower, Manchester

Beetham Tower, Manchester

Come To Where I’m From – Bristol

Bristol Old Vic

Bristol Old Vic

Every day in the lead-up to Christmas, we’re podcasting a collection of short plays about a particular area of the UK, written and read by playwrights. Collectively, the plays form Come To Where I’m From, a theatrical tapestry that asks whether home is truly where the heart is.

There’s an article on the Guardian website about the project by our artistic directors here.

Today, we’re taken around Bristol by Tim X Atack, Natalie McGrath, Adam Peck and Tom Wainwright. We co-commissioned Tim, Natalie, Adam and Tom with our good friends at Bristol Old Vic, where we first presented the plays.

You can read about Tim and Adam’s favourite bits of the areas they grew up in below and listen to their plays here – LISTEN NOW TO COME TO WHERE I’M FROM – BRISTOL.

A guide to the favourite places of where we’re from – by Tim X Atack and Adam Peck

My bed in my room at Number 46. No matter how bad things get, I know I can go home, turn my phone to silent, get under the duvet and go to sleep, and when I wake up things will be just that little bit better. [ap]

The Louisiana. A music venue near the industrial museum, decorated like a steam barge from America’s Deep South. A room above a pub that holds about 100 people, but can feel like 200; I’ve seen gigs by Mogwai, The Divine Comedy, Françoiz Breut and Black Heart Procession amongst many others (the Mogwai gig, in particular, left me with streaming eyes, sopping wet with sweat, and with pronounced tinnitus for approximately a fortnight afterwards.) There’s nothing like walking out onto the swing bridge, into the cold brisk air, humming the encores. It’s also close to my heart as the site of many of my own band’s finest moments – Angel Tech must have played there something like 15 times over the last 15 years. It just works: stage and audience seem to merge, the conversation within the room is easy, the connection palpable. There’s no backstage so you set up your gear in plain view, chatting with the front row as you’re frantically untangling wires and adjusting cymbal stands. When The Divine Comedy played there, the room was so jammed that my girlfriend fainted (and during my favourite song.) When Luke Haines of the Auteurs played “The Rubettes” you could hear every voice in the room singing along, and when he broke off mid-chorus to tell a dubious story about The Yorkshire Ripper and Jimmy Saville, he didn’t even have to use the mic – leaning forward and confiding in us, as if over a pub table. [txa]

The Louisiana

The Louisiana

Clifton Suspension Bridge. I look up at it almost every day and I think about the time and hard effort, the thought and mastery, the audacity and tenacity it must have taken to make it happen. I wonder if I’m capable of doing something that amazing, and if I am, when I’ll do it. Then I think of all the people who must look at it like me, and wonder if they think the same things as I do – if they wonder whether and when they’re going to do something amazing – something that other people will look at, or touch, or read, or use that will inspire them to do great things. [ap]

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge

House with a nose – on Kensington Road, junction with Roslyn Road, just next to the railway track, there’s a house with a nose. The nose sits halfway up the garden-side wall, in plain view of the street, a massive long-bridged schnoz with nostrils flared. There’s something truly comforting about knowing that you live in the kind of city where a house with a huge nose is possible. Don’t believe me? Google StreetView it. When all’s said and done, ours is not to reason why: houses with noses are cool. As far as I can tell, it used to be a concrete nose – it’s now made out of wicker or something. Don’t ask me why. Maybe the first nose fell off or something. I hope it didn’t kill anyone. [txa]

St Mark’s Road, Easton – and the Sweetmart, piled high with legumes of every conceivable variety, where you can buy passion fruit juice and good okra. Oh, and the Moroccan café just around the corner from the Epstein Building on Mivart Street, an old picture frame factory now a warren of artist’s workshops, rehearsal spaces, theatre companies and my favourite recording studio in town, J&J, and the basement reeking of oil where my band used to rehearse, and the Chinese takeaway over the road that probably stills puts a bit too much soy into the noodles. [txa]

Sweet Mart

Sweet Mart

Tomorrow, come to…Coventry.

Come To Where I’m From – Oxford

Oxford Playhouse

Oxford Playhouse

Every day in the lead-up to Christmas, we’re podcasting a collection of short plays about a particular area of the UK, written and read by playwrights. Collectively, the plays form Come To Where I’m From, a theatrical tapestry that asks whether home is truly where the heart is.

There’s an article on the Guardian website about the project by our artistic directors here.

Today, we’re taken around Oxford by Mike Bartlett, Alice Birch, Duncan Macmillan and Catriona Kerridge. We co-commissioned Mike, Alice, Duncan and Catriona as well as Penelope Skinner with our good friends at Oxford Playhouse, where we first presented the plays.

You can read about Catriona and Alice’s favourite bits of the area they grew up in below and listen to all five plays here – LISTEN NOW TO COME TO WHERE I’M FROM – OXFORD.

A guide to the favourite places of where we’re from – by Catriona Kerridge and Alice Birch.

Botanic Gardens because it’s peaceful and lovely. [ab]

Port Meadow. Pubs, swimming in the themes, strawberry picking, BBQs and picnics. [ck]

The Pheonix Picturehouse in Jericho… Or actually, Jericho in general – sweet villagey part of Oxford. [ab]

The Bodleian. Because it’s beautiful. And it’s the Bodleian. [ab]

Port Meadow bridge over the Thames, Oxford

Port Meadow bridge over the Thames, Oxford

Cowley Road. The people, the food, the cinema it has everything! [ck]

Cowley Road, Oxford

Cowley Road, Oxford

Ben’s Cookies. Best Cookies in the World. [ck]

Pizzaria Mama Mia. Staring to become an Oxford chain but the pizza is a habit I can’t beat. [ck]

The Boathouse – does good picnic baskets to take punting – for proper posh Oxfordy Brideshead moments. [ab]

The University Parks – there’s a bench for my Granddad here. [ab]

Godstow Nunnery. A surreal escape into the old ruin (a great place to just daydream). [ck]

Godstow Nunnery, Oxford

Godstow Nunnery, Oxford

Tomorrow, come to…Manchester.

Come To Where I’m From – Nottingham

Nottingham Playhouse

Nottingham Playhouse

Every day in the lead-up to Christmas, we’re podcasting a collection of short plays about a particular area of the UK, written and read by playwrights. Collectively, the plays form Come To Where I’m From, a theatrical tapestry that asks whether home is truly where the heart is.

There’s an article on the Guardian website about the project by our artistic directors here.

Today, we’re taken around Nottingham by Leah Chillery, James Graham, Laura Lomas, Mufaro Makubika and Beth Steel. We co-commissioned Leah, James, Laura, Mufaro and Beth with our good friends the Theatre Writing Partnership and Nottingham Playhouse, where we first presented the plays.

You can read about Leah, James and Laura’s favourite bits of the areas they grew up in below and listen to their plays here – LISTEN NOW TO COME TO WHERE I’M FROM – NOTTINGHAM.

A guide to the favourite places of where we’re from – by Leah Chillery, James Graham and Laura Lomas

The Nottingham Playhouse. (Obviously!) It’s my theatre home – a place I will always come back to. From commercial panto’s aged 5 to Greek classics like The Burial at Thebes. It really is world class theatre. From taking part in community projects to leading community projects. To full blow commissions. To sitting outside the CAST bar, glass of rose in hand and dreaming of what the future has in store. [lc]

Forest Fields. Now at a glance on a dull day, you may wonder, why I would favour a big grass field in the middle of Hyson Green complete with a resident wino. (AKA a deprived area AKA the ghetto) but throw a bit of sun into the mix, and that field is alive with students, families and yes the resident wino. With flood lit astro turf, football pitches, a big woody playground for the kids and enough grass for a thousand sun worshippers. It’s lush enough without the fact, that some other seriously cool events are held there. The Nottingham Carnival takes place here, with HUGE urban acts taking to the stage and hundreds of stalls and rides attracting locals and ravers from all over the country. More impressively, once a year, in Nottingham only, it is host to the worlds biggest and UK travelling fair THE GOOSE FAIR. For one week, this hotspot is crammed with more rides, stalls and games than you could ever afford to splash out on. It smells great, looks great and you’ll have such a great time, you’ll talk about it like a overexcited big kid for years. [lc]

Wollaton Park. Because it’s massive and amazing and there’s loads of Deer roaming free. And Wollaton Hall is an amazing public Museum with the most incredible collection of taxidermi I’ve ever seen. Including a Giraffe and a Gorilla. [ll]

Bestwood Park. A country park formed around the, now closed, colliery there. My dad used to live on the outskirts of it and we’d take walks and bike rides around it when I was younger. So atmospheric, and so beautiful. [jg]

Bestwood Park, Nottingham

Bestwood Park, Nottingham

The Lake on University campus. Because it beautiful and peaceful and I spent a lot of time there when i was studying. [ll]

Nottingham University Campus lake

Nottingham University Campus lake

The Market Square. To quote my own monolgue lol, this is where it’s at. Shopping, Eating, People watching, Party going and one leg pigeon spotting. It’s the heart of town, night or day, its beating. [lc]

Market Square, Nottingham

Market Square, Nottingham

Ye Old Trip to Jerusalem. Because it’s the oldest pub in England (apparently), and it’s built into the side of a cave, and it even has it’s own brand of ale. [ll]

Ye Old Trip to Jerusalem. England’s oldest pub, sticking out of the rocks that lift up Nottingham Castle. Beer, and history. Nuff said. [jg]

Ye Old Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham

Ye Old Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham

The Castle. Also beautiful, just above the The Trip, and has lovely gardens to enjoy a picnic in the summer.  The views are amazing- you can see out across the whole city. [ll]

Not quite Nottingham but Matlock, in the Peak District is one of my favourite places in the world. It’s like the seaside in the middle of the Derwent Valley. there’s fish and chip shops, and cable cars, and Arcades, and shops selling thimbles, and Bikers riding through. And the Derbyshire countryside. Everything you need. [ll]

Tomorrow, come to…Oxford.

Come To Where I’m From – Coventry

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Every day in the lead-up to Christmas, we’re podcasting a collection of short plays about a particular area of the UK, written and read by playwrights. Collectively, the plays form Come To Where I’m From, a theatrical tapestry that asks whether home is truly where the heart is.

There’s an article on the Guardian website about the project by our artistic directors here.

Today, we’re taken around Coventry by Vanessa Oakes, Chris O’Connell, Alan Pollock and Paven Virk. We co-commissioned Vanessa, Chris, Alan and Paven with our good friends at the Belgrade Theatre, where we first presented the plays.

You can read about Vanessa, Alan and Paven’s favourite bits of the areas they grew up in below and listen to their plays here – LISTEN NOW TO COME TO WHERE I’M FROM – COVENTRY.

A guide to the favourite places of where we’re from – by Vanessa Oakes, Alan Pollock and Paven Virk

The Belgrade Theatre, rescued me, gave me a purpose, a place where you could experiment, be different people and not be judged. It felt like my second home. [pv]

The Alma Delicatessen (Defunct). [ap]

Coundon Wedge. [vo]

The Doom Painting. [vo]

Doom Painting, Coventry

Doom Painting, Coventry

Coombe Abbey Park. Childhood memories, a huge manor house which at the time was not open to the public (now a hotel), so it always left my little mind wondering what happens in there, who lives there. Sometimes i’d stare up at the windows and think i see ghostly figures, maybe i did… [pv]

Coombe Abbey, Coventry

Coombe Abbey, Coventry

Coventry Train Station (Grade II listed – post war building). [vo]

The Albany Social Club. [ap]

Albany Social Club, Coventry

Albany Social Club, Coventry

Fishy Moores chip shop. My mum worked there when she first came to England, i loved the smell of chips on her and the fact we got free ones. Once we left we’d go back for meals every now and then and get special treatment! [pv]

Browns. [vo]

Coventry Indoor Market. [vo]

The Town Wall Tavern. [ap]

The Town Wall Tavern, Coventry
The Town Wall Tavern, Coventry

Tomorrow, come to…Nottingham.

Come To Where I’m From – Watford

Watford Palace Theatre

Watford Palace Theatre

Every day in the lead-up to Christmas, we’re podcasting a collection of short plays about a particular area of the UK,  written and read by playwrights. Collectively, the plays form Come To Where I’m From, a theatrical tapestry that asks whether home is truly where the heart is.

There’s an article on the Guardian website about the project by our artistic directors here.

Today, we’re taken around Watford by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti and Adam Taylor, neighbouring  Welyn Garden City by Glyn Maxwell and nearby Toddington by Guy Jones. We co-commissioned Gurpreet, Adam, Glyn and Guy with our good friends at Watford Palace Theatre, where we first presented the plays.

You can read about Gurpreet, Adam and Guy’s favourite bits of the areas they grew up in below and listen to their plays here – LISTEN NOW TO COME TO WHERE I’M FROM – WATFORD.

A guide to the favourite places of where we’re from – by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, Adam Taylor and Guy Jones

The High Street (Watford). Often vaguely reminiscent of a warzone but you’re always guaranteed an eventful night out. [at]

Cassiobury Park (Watford). Just the most beautiful place. [gkb]

Cassiobury Park, Watford

Cassiobury Park, Watford

The Harlequin Centre (Watford). A huge collection of shops in a very odd-shaped building with a seemingly endless number of multi-storey car parks attached. [at]

Watford Football Club (Watford). Some of my happiest memories as a child. [gkb]

Bushey Grove Leisure Centre (Watford). A airly new leisure centre with fantastic facilities. I get beaten regularly in the squash league here and then literally drown my sorrows in the pool. [at]

Bushey Grove leisure centre, Watford

Bushey Grove leisure centre, Watford

The Essex Arms (Watford). A great place to have a quiet drink with friends. Anyone up to and including the age of 50 will be asked for ID and the quiz night is impossibly difficult. [at]

The big cemetery on Vicarage Road (Watford). I used to spend hours reading the gravestones. [gkb]

There really aren’t three things to do in Toddington (apart from visit the Church, have tea at the Manor and go to one of our 9 pubs). [gj]

Toddington Manor

Toddington Manor

Tomorrow, come to…Coventry.

Come To Where I’m From – Cardiff

Chapter Arts Centre

Chapter Arts Centre

Every day in the lead-up to Christmas, we’re podcasting a collection of short plays about a particular area of the UK, written and read by playwrights. Collectively, the plays form Come To Where I’m From, a theatrical tapestry that asks whether home is truly where the heart is.

There’s an article on the Guardian website about the project by our artistic directors here.

Today, we’re taken around Cardiff by Samantha Burns, Alan Harris and Tim price, whilst Bethan Marlow introduces us to Bethel in North Wales and Matthew Bulgo gives us Swansea. We co-commissioned Matthew, Samantha, Alan, Bethan and Tim with our good friends at the Sherman Theatre, with whom we first presented the plays at Chapter Arts Centre.

You can read about Samantha, Alan, Bethan and Tim’s favourite bits of the areas they grew up in below and listen to theirs and Matthew’s plays here – LISTEN NOW TO COME TO WHERE I’M FROM -CARDIFF.

A guide to the favourite places of where we’re from – by Samantha Burns, Alan Harris, Bethan Marlow and Tim Price

The Barrage (Cardiff). It’s hard to think of Cardiff as a maritime city, the working part of the docks being so inaccessible and the centre’s being markedly inland, so it’s novel to be able to stand in the middle of the barrage and see the Bristol channel on one side of you and Cardiff on the other. [sb]

Primary School roof (Bethel, North Wales). I spent many nights with my mates (all boys) as a teenager up there just watching the world go by. [bm]

The new Cardiff City Stadium – preferably a night game (Cardiff). [ah]

Cardiff City Stadium

Cardiff City Stadium

The tree on the side of Cefn Gwyn farm (Bethel, North Wales). Me and Mared (my little sister) would cycle there and go for a picnic. It felt like an adventure everytime but was actually only a three minute from our home. [bm]

Village Hall (Bethel, North Wales). Esiteddfods, bingo, bonfire night, youth club, birthday parties, carnival- it all happened here! [bm]

The Tonglwydfawr public house (Cardiff). [tp]

The Tonglwydfawr public house, Cardiff

The Tonglwydfawr public house, Cardiff

The Garth (Cardiff). A hill to the north of Cardiff. I could see it from several of the windows in my high school and it always looked a lot more enticing than maths. It’s one of those long, open, whale-backed jobs with an unobscured view in every direction. I finally found my way to the top of it a couple of years after leaving school, to see the eclipse. [sb]

Top resevoir in the Dare Valley Country Park (Cardiff) [tp]

Top resevoir in the Dare Valley Country Park, Cardiff

Top resevoir in the Dare Valley Country Park, Cardiff

Any of the Italian Cafes left, Joe’s…Servinis… (Cardiff) [tp]

The Celtic Cauldron cafe in the indoor market (Cardiff). [ah]

Celtic Couldron Cafe, Cardiff

Celtic Couldron Cafe, Cardiff

And this isn’t a specific place as such, but anywhere in the vicinity of the Brains brewery you’re apt to get a powerful whiff of malt or hops or whatever it is (Cardiff). When I first moved to Cardiff I couldn’t abide the smell, and I could detect it miles away from the brewery. I don’t know if the smell’s just better contained these days or if I’ve simply got used to it, but I don’t smell it so often now and when I do it doesn’t offend me, though I don’t exactly find it pleasant. I’ve never smelt it in any other city, and if I were to do so halfway across the world I expect it’d make me powerfully homesick. [sb]

Llyn-Brwynog bird hide at Forest Farm (Cardiff). [ah]

Tomorrow, come to…Watford.

Come To Where I’m From – Belfast

Island Arts Centre, Lisburn

Island Arts Centre, Lisburn

Every day in the lead-up to Christmas, we’re podcasting a collection of short plays about a particular area of the UK, written and read by playwrights. Collectively, the plays form Come To Where I’m From, a theatrical tapestry that asks whether home is truly where the heart is.

There’s an article on the Guardian website about the project by our artistic directors here.

Today, we’re taken around Belfast by David Ireland, Rosemary Jenkinson and Martin Lynch. We co-commissioned David, Rosemary and Martin along with Richard Dormer and Stacey Gregg with our good friends at Ransom Productions, with whom we first presented the plays at the Island Arts Centre.
 
You can read about David and Rosemary’s favourite bits of the areas they grew up in below and listen to their plays here – LISTEN NOW TO COME TO WHERE I’M FROM – BELFAST.

A guide to the favourite places of where we’re from – by David Ireland and Rosemary Jenkinson

The Linenhall Library for its creaky tables, its view of Donegall Square and especially for its ghosts. [rj]

Linehall Library, Belfast

Linehall Library, Belfast

Muriel’s Cafe Bar, Church Lane. If you don’t drink alcohol, there aren’t many good bars to go to in Belfast.  Most bars here are populated by grizzled and unhappy drunks (most of whom work in the theatre business).  But for those who practice abstinence, on a quiet night Muriel’s is a joy.  Excellent coffee and plentiful supplies of Perrier.  Every girl I’ve ever taken on a first date in Belfast, I’ve taken here (though I found out later that it’s a lesbian bar which is perhaps why so many of my first dates ended badly).    But in my opinion, it’s the most civilized, friendliest, charming bar in Belfast.  And yet another reason to love lesbians. [di]

The Grand Opera House. [ml]

Madden’s Bar for its traditional music and strong Irish Republican vibe. [rj]

Maddens Bar, Belfast

Maddens Bar, Belfast

Storm Cinema, The Odyssey Arena. I know I should say the independent arthouse QFT is my favourite cinema but that would be a lie.  I do love the QFT and it does show the kinds of movies I adore but it’s showing times are ridiculous and also you might bump into a director or an actor you don’t like.  Storm Cinema is the brainless multiplex but it’s ALWAYS EMPTY.  Almost every film I’ve seen there, I’ve been the only person in the cinema.  And that’s heaven.  Popcorn, comfy seats and bad slasher movies.  Fuck the Tarkovsky retrospective.    Get yourself to the Odyssey for Hostel 3. [di]

Bookfinders Cafe as it is filled chaotically with old books and is run by Mary who loves a smoke, a drink and a chat. [rj]

The John Hewitt Bar. [ml]

Shaftesbury Square. Our Piccadilly Circus.  Our Time Square.  I was a kid in Sandy Row and going to the KFC at Shaftesbury Square was the most exciting thing imaginable on a Friday night.  Then it was back to the house with a three-piece chicken meal to watch The Cosby Show and imagine I was black.  (But that’s a whole other story).  My heart still skips a beat when I see Shaftesbury Square.  It’s the centre of so many happy childhood and teenage memories for me.  KFC, Lavery’s, the Manhattan, the Crescent, the Lee Garden and the Spar. [di]

Cave Hill for its magnificent views over Belfast and its Celtic fort. [rj]

View over Belfast from Cave Hill

View over Belfast from Cave Hill

The Lagan tow-path at Shaw’s Bridge. [ml]

Tomorrow, come to…Cardiff.

Come To Where I’m From – Newcastle

Live Theatre, Newcastle

Live Theatre, Newcastle

Every day in the lead-up to Christmas, we’re podcasting a collection of short plays about a particular area of the UK, written and read by playwrights. Collectively, the plays form Come To Where I’m From, a theatrical tapestry that asks whether home is truly where the heart is.

There’s an article on the Guardian website about the project by our artistic directors here.

Today, we’re taken around Newcastle by Alison Carr, Michael Chaplin, Dick Curran and Tracy Whitwell. We co-commissioned Alison, Michael, Dick and Tracey with our good friends at Live Theatre in Newcastle, where the plays were first presented.
 
You can read about Alison, Michael, Dick and Tracy’s favourite bits of the areas they grew up in below and listen to their plays here – LISTEN NOW TO COME TO WHERE I’M FROM – NEWCASTLE.

A guide to the favourite places of where we’re from – by Alison Carr, Michael Chaplin, Dick Curran and Tracy Whitwell

Live Theatre is my favourite theatre in the world.. Of course this is partly because I have been attached to it for so many years and have a lot of personal memories. But it’s also very historic and has been restored extremely lovingly. I don’t like to be away from it for too long. [tw]

Live Theatre itself – a superb historic building but more important part of my DNA as a writer and Tynesider, a place to celebrate, explore and occasionally rail against the distinctive character and culture of this city, a place to meet friends and collaborators, a home from home… [mc]

Butterfly Cabinet (formerly Belle and Herbs) on Heaton Road. It can change its name and management as much as it likes, but anywhere that does all day breakfasts that good and burgers that big is a-ok with me. [ac]

The Butterfly Cabinet, Newcastle

The Butterfly Cabinet, Newcastle

The Cumberland Arms in Byker. Brilliant pub. The powers that be went on a mission to destroy all the decent pubs in Newcastle in the late 60’s and 70’s. This was one of the few to survive, possibly because it was run down and out of the way, and it’s now the best place on the Ouseburn, a revitalised centre of life in a reclaimed post-industrial valley, just outside the centre of town. [dc]

I love the ‘Dog and Parrot’ next to the Centre for life, an old pub that’s been through many incarnations and now plays the best music in Newcastle and has a lovely clientele. I can still indulge my rock chick tendencies whilst sitting by a fire and chatting to my bestest friends. [tw]

Jesmond Dene. The perfect haven for a walk, grab a book and read in the sunshine or enjoy a picnic with mates. And it has a pet cemetery, including the final resting place of a stick insect. Really. [ac]

The Castle Keep.  The castle is the reason Newcastle has its name. ‘New’ is a relative term; this was built  in the Twelfth century and actually replaced the previous new castle which was built of wood. Much of the original Norman building survives, and there is a stone staircase leading to a gallery looking down into the Great Hall. A stone spiral staircase also gives access to the roof which has great views across the city. It is in the heart of town, opposite The Bridge which is another decent surviving pub. [dc]

Benton Quarry Park. The house I grew up in backed on to here. It was once a quarry and then a landfill site, alive with scavenging seagulls in the 60’s and 70’s. It was grassed over in the mid 1970’s, after which there was an ongoing battle when saplings were planted, uprooted by kids, and replanted. The trees won out in the end and it is now an established park, quite wild in places, used for biodiversity projects. There is a story that one night when the area was a disused quarry, full of pits and treacherous pools, two boys – brothers – went playing there; and only one came back. Since then local people say that, on rainy nights, if you go to answer a knock at your back door you might open it to find a young lad in old-fashioned clothes, pale-faced and soaking wet, staring back at you and asking for his brother. The person who told me this was my Dad. I suspect he made the whole thing up but it scared the living daylights out of me. [dc]

I love Saltwell Park in Gateshead (which is pretty much part of Newcastle). It’s a beautiful, sprawling place, with a fairy-tale castle at it’s heart, animals, a boating lake and music on Sundays. I spent every day I could in that park when I was a child and now I still go for long walks in there with my son and my dad is a parkie there so I have the added bonus of bumping into my dad ‘on patrol’. [tw]

Saltwell Park, Newcastle

Saltwell Park, Newcastle

St James’ Park: when I was about 11 and began my hopeless lifelong love affair with Newcastle United, rather than asking me if I was going to the match, my mother   always inquired if I was going to pray. She got it right, as did Bobby Robson when he described it as the cathedral of football on the hill. Hotbed of soccer, field of dreams; I’ve had so many experiences there I’ll never forget, not all of them positive, obviously. [mc]

I love the whole sweep of the Quayside with it’s gorgeous bridges and it’s market on a Sunday where you could buy chocolate honeycomb and second hand albums when I was younger. [tw]

Newcastle Quayside

Newcastle Quayside

The Millennium Bridge. Some contention here if it’s Gateshead or Newcastle, but one side is on Baltic Quay (Gateshead) and the other on the Quayside (Newcastle). That is how bridges work. So it counts. If you can avoid getting mowed down by cyclists, it’s a lovely stroll across and the ideal place to take in the views. [ac]

The Tyne itself, the Quayside, its bridges, the Sage and the Baltic, that heart-swooping gorge and the river at the bottom of it all, a kind of cultural Ganges in which we all immerse ourselves. [mc]

The Black Gate next to the castle is also very special. The building is closed up now but has had such an amazing history. It wound up being a tenement with a gin palace underneath it, so very poor people actually lived in it it (and succumbed to Mothers’ Ruin no doubt). It’s packed to the rafters with ghosts and one day I will write a play or a film about it. [tw]

The Literary and Philosophical Society (aka the Lit and Phil), a superb 200 year old private library (with moderately priced subscriptions), in a building full of airy spaces and secret places – listen out for the trains arriving at and departing from Robert Stephenson’s magnificently vaulted Central Station nearby. [mc]

Grey Street, one of the finest streets in England, said Pevsner, and who am I to disagree? [mc]