The launch of The Laurels’ 2023 season

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A month ago I was invited to the press launch of Live Theatre’s season. Now it’s the turn of The Laurels in Whitley Bay.

Out of all the venues in the north-east, there can be little doubt that The Laurels was the big winner of 2022. This is thanks in a large part to the success of Gerry and Sewell. Plays that have references to local football teams have a track record of selling well, and Jonathan Tulloch’s book The Season Ticket is an excellent story in its own right, but I don’t think even Jamie and Steve predicted just how successful this was going to be. I’ve spoken very highly of this play before (indeed it won 2022’s Best North-East Fringe Production and Best Individual Performance from me), but at the end of the day, it’s not what I or any other reviewer thinks that counts, but mass appeal to an audience. A sold out run and a hastily-programme encore run is as good as you get.

And, of course, they’ve now secured a run at Live Theatre. Before we get carried away, we should remember that no theatre succeeds in the long-run as a one-hit wonder. The worst mistake the Laurels could make right now would be – fittingly enough – to rest on their laurels. What it does mean in that they’re going into 2023 on a position of strength.

There were quite a lot of things covered in the launch. As usual, I’m not going to do a comprehensive write-up here – I’ll leave it to other publications to do that – and instead concentrate on things that got my attention.

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