Comedy, drama and music form the touring highlights

HIghlights Tour'Monster Ceilidh Band
HIghlights Tour'Monster Ceilidh Band
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A NEW season of music, drama and comedy is coming to community venues across Northumberland.

The Highlights Rural Touring Scheme will again offer a range of professional, low cost performances, workshops and exhibitions at 25 venues across the county.

And the action begins in Pegswood next week as the Monster Ceilidh Band come to the village.

The Newcastle four-piece promises a rip-roaring evening at Pegswood Community Project on Friday, February 24 as it hurls the tradition of the ceilidh into the 21st Century.

The band is on a crusade to bring a modern approach to the music, with something innovative, fresh and dynamic, while retaining the true spirit of the traditional music and dance.

Together, members have taken their cross-genre music across the globe.

Amy Thatcher is considered one of the most talented folk accordionists of recent years and has collaborated with a host of musicians, from Sting to Kathryn Tickell. Fiddler Carly Blain brings fire and passion to the group, while the unique rhythm style of Kieran Szifris has breathed new life into the mandocello. Bass guitarist David De La Haye, of Jez Lowe’s Bad Pennies, completes the line-up.

But Pegswood is not the only community that can look forward to such strong entertainment.

Whitebone Productions will bring multi-award winning, one-man comedy Bane to Hepscott Parish Hall later this month.

This comic spoof is set on the streets of a non-descript American city and performed to a live guitar soundtrack in which revenge seeking anti-hero Bruce Bane shoots first and asks questions later.

Next month the stage switches to Middleton and Todridge Village Hall for a different sort of production altogether. Alison Neil presents Truly Yours, C.B, portraying the life of Charlotte Bronte. The one-woman show uses many of Charlotte’s own words, as well as stunning costumes and attention to detail.

In May, Keira Dance will perform Threads at Whalton Village Hall, bringing a fresh and distinctive fusion of contemporary and Irish dance styles.

And Teasel Theatre Company will present Grisly Tales of Tumblewater at Hepscott Parish Hall. The funny, spooky and playful adaptation of Bruno Vincent’s dark novel combines laughs, frights and live music as it follows a fearless orphan on his quest to bring down an evil landowner.

The action returns to Pegswood at the end of the spring season with The Honey Man by New Perspectives Theatre Company. It presents a beautiful account of the unlikely relationship between a schoolgirl and an ancient Afro-Caribbean man who has taken up residence in a derelict cottage.

The Highlights scheme is supported by the Northumberland Strategic Arts Forum, Arts Council England North East and Northumberland County Council, and features touring companies from across the UK.

For more information visit www.highlightsnorth.co.uk or contact 01768 353954.

The Monster Ceilidh Band will perform in Pegswood on Friday, February 24 at 7pm. Tickets cost £6.50, £4.50 concession and £16 for a family. For bookings call 01670 512185.