Don’t myth this, it’s theatre at its best

Grannys Big Top Tale.
Grannys Big Top Tale.

FROM clowning around at the seaside to taking in an evening with Churchill, the new season of Highlights Touring Scheme certainly offers a varied programme.

Between February and June there will be 23 performances of 15 different shows, presented in 15 village halls or community centres across Northumberland, including venues in Hepscott, Pegswood and Middleton.

The spring season offers a wide-ranging programme of theatre, music, comedy, storytelling and children’s shows, often combining the different genres in one fun-packed family production.

Hepscott Parish Hall will play host to Temple Theatre next month for its performance of Unmythable – a fun-filled romp through the greatest Greek myths ever told.

The fast-paced show invites the audience to set sail with Jason and the Argonauts on a quest to bring back the Golden Fleece. There are plenty of legendary heroes, deadly monsters and epic fights along the way, brought to life by a trio of actors using song, comedy and physical theatre.

The production was a hit at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival and is suitable for anyone over the age of eight.

It can be seen in Hepscott on Friday, February 15, at 8pm.

There are two contrasting productions in store for Pegswood Community Hub.

Churchill, played by multi-award winning actor Pip Utton, sees the great leader descend from his plinth in Parliament Square to indulge in a glass of Scotch, a cigar and listening to himself talk. He will tell tales of his childhood, army life, marriage, painting, writing and bricklaying, as well as his many years at the centre of the world political stage.

The show takes place on Sunday, February 24, at 7pm. It is suitable for people aged 12 and over.

The next performance at the venue couldn’t be more different as Little Pixie Productions offer the whole family the chance to find out about Granny’s Big Top Tale.

The spectacular circus tale, complete with dance, songs, clowning and chaos, transports the audience back to 1938 for a seaside extravaganza. There are inventive props, magic tricks, acrobats, clowns, sing-alongs, slapstick and candyfloss, not to mention the World’s Greatest Strongman, who somehow doesn’t quite live up to his name.

It all takes place on Sunday, March 17, at 2.30pm.

Middleton and Todridge Village Hall will have to wait until April for its share of the entertainment when The New Rope String Band will arrive centre stage. Acoustic world music will be spliced with clowning, vaudeville, slapstick and silliness in a precision honed, uproarious performance.

Trio Pete Challoner, Tim Dalling and Jock Tyldesley offer everything from musical tennis to deconstructed nursery rhymes, as well as pyrotechnics and live interactive film. Audiences are warned to expect the unexpected. The show will be staged on Friday, April 26, at 7.30pm.

Highlights aims to improve access to the arts for rural communities and works with volunteer promoters to put on the shows. It is supported by the Northumberland Strategic Arts Forum, Arts Council England and Northumberland County Council.

For further information about the scheme visit