Highlights of autumn

Highlights tour
Highlights tour

PROFESSIONAL touring theatre companies are returning to Northumberland for the Highlights autumn season.

A broad mix of shows will be coming to village halls across the county through the rural touring scheme, which works with volunteer local promoters to deliver top-class entertainment to the heart of communities.

Venues taking part in this season’s offer include Hepscott Parish Hall, Pegswood Community Project and Middleton and Todridge Village Hall.

Hepscott will host its first show next Friday, presenting musicians Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston.

The rare fusion of double bass and mandolin make for an exciting pairing on the acoustic roots scene as they weave timeless covers with one or two originals, with skilful instrumentation and warm, engaging vocals.

In November, it is Pegswood’s turn to enjoy the limelight with two very different productions.

CountryBoy’s Struggle, by Contact Theatre, comes to the county following success at the Edinburgh Festival, telling the tale of an MC’s journey from the cliffs of Cornwall to the bright lights of London.

Maxwell Golden plays more than 40 characters, mixing hip hop, music, poetry, MCing and physical comedy.

The performance forms part of a Highlights project with local schools.

Next up is a true classic as Mad Dogs and Englishmen Theatre Company presents a faithful, fast-paced adaptation of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield.

The semi-autobiographical story is of a vulnerable boy on his journey to manhood, following his struggles against poverty, obscurity, loss and loneliness.

The adaptation is part of the celebrations for the bicentennial year of Dickens’ birth.

December offers up some festive family fare and a good old community sing-song.

A Brassy Christmas, by Orichalcum World of Brass, features all the seasonal favourites, played in a range of musical styles on 26 instruments. Every member of the brass family is used, from the tiny piccolo trumpet to the huge bass tuba.

Virtuoso brass musician James Stretton and pianist Iain Jackson play a concert of incredible variety, with fun for all the family.

They will perform in Hepscott and Middleton.

Highlights Community Touring Scheme works with a network of 30 venues in Northumberland, as well as undertaking special projects with schools and other groups. It is funded by Northumberland County Council and Arts Council England.

For more information, visit www.highlightsnorth.co.uk