Northern Stage Archive

Scope and Content

Includes material relating to the marketing, governance and individual performances of Northern Stage.

Administrative / Biographical History

Northern Stage was opened under the name The University Theatre on Newcastle University campus in 1970. In the late 1980s the Northern Stage performance company, who had been resident at the theatre before a temporary move, returned to the University site, renamed as Newcastle Playhouse and Gulbenkian Studio, home of Northern Stage.

During the 1990s Artistic Director Alan Lidyard developed Northern Stage as an ensemble of actors in the mould of European theatres, and invited leading theatre-makers such as Lev Dody (Maly Theatre) and Robert Lepage to make work with the ensemble.

In 2004 Newcastle Playhouse and the Gulbenkian Studio closed for major refurbishment work. In the preceding years several of the other companies resident at Newcastle Playhouse, such as Dance City and Northern Sinfonia, had moved into their own purpose built buildings. The decision was taken to amalgamate the venue (Newcastle Playhouse) and resident theatre company (Northern Stage) into one organisation, to serve Newcastle and the North East as a permanent home for mid-scale theatre.

In 2006 the building reopened its doors under a new name, Northern Stage, and a new Artistic Director, Erica Whyman. During her tenure, Erica pioneered new models of artist development and showcasing, establishing Northern Stage at the Edinburgh Festival and NORTH programmes.

In 2013 Lorne Campbell was appointed as Artistic Director. He increased the number of in-house productions and co-productions, expanded artist development opportunities to include Creative Residencies, and created a new fringe venue, Stage 3. Lorne was joined by Executive Director and co-Chief Executive Kate Denby in April 2015.

Conditions Governing Access

Access restrictions apply to parts of this collection in accordance with the United Kingdom's Data Protection Act 1998 and Freedom of Information Act 2000. See individual items for further details on where these restrictions apply.

Where restrictions do not apply, access is open to bona fide researchers; appointment in advance and proof of identity required. Please see for further details.

Archivist's Note

This catalogue was created by Rachel Hill, Literary Archivist at Newcastle University Special Collections in 2016.

Separated Material

For other archival sources relating to Northern Stage, see also

  • '1979-1991: annual reports, show files, papers rel education and administration, papers rel youth theatre council and festival' held at Tyne and Wear Archives , reference TH.TIE.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make published use of any material from Newcastle University's Special Collections must be sought in writing from the Special Collections Librarian (email: and from the copyright owner if appropriate. The library will assist where possible with the identification of copyright owners, but the responsibility to obtain copyright clearance rests with the user.


Further accruals are expected.