Theatre News

”I, Daniel Blake” stage adaptation to tour in 2023

I, Daniel Blake
I, Daniel Blake

Northern Stage has announced its 2023 season plans, under the theme of “This Is Family”.

The season will include the first stage adaptation of Ken Loach’s award-winning film I, Daniel Blake, running from 26 May to 10 June at Northern Stage before touring.

The stage production is adapted by award-winning actor and comedian Dave Johns, who appeared in the original film.

He explained: “”I was thrilled to be asked to adapt Paul Laverty’s screenplay. But I didn’t just want to put the film on stage, I wanted to update the story for 2022, making it contemporary and exploring more of single mum Katie’s journey and the family unit she forms with Daniel. To show the kindness, compassion, humour, and hope that can help us through the toughest of times.

“Sadly, during my research it was disheartening to find not much had changed at all since the film’s release. The story is still as relevant as it was in 2016; maybe even more so now with the cost-of-living crisis making it even harder for those who are already struggling to find a way out of poverty. Daniel and Katie’s story could be anyone’s.”

Mark Calvert directs, while the show designed by Rhys Jarman with movement direction by Martin Hylton. It is co-produced with Birmingham Rep, Oldham Coliseum, English Touring Theatre, and tiny dragon Productions, in association with Cardboard Citizens.

Also in the season is a new play by Hannah Lavery, directed by Northern Stage’s artistic director Natalie Ibu. Titled Protest, the show explores the issues of change during an environmental crisis. The show is co-produced with Fuel and Imaginate, in association with the National Theatre of Scotland. It will run at Northern Stage from 27 April to 6 May before touring.

Also in the season is a new staging of Sally Cookson’s Cinderella: A Fairytale, running from 2 December to 6 January, as well as touring shows including Gecko’s Kin, Theatre Re’s The Nature of Forgetting, a co-production of Wuthering Heights and a show from the creative team of Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of), titled Kidnapped.

Artistic director Natalie Ibu explained today: “This is Family is about community, tribes; how we gather and how we define ourselves.

“Whether that’s celebrating youth activism and uniting to take a stand against racial prejudice, the patriarchy and the climate crisis in Hannah Lavery’s Protest; the unlikely bond an ailing Geordie carpenter and a struggling single mum from London form to take on a system that’s stacked against them in I, Daniel Blake”; or an intimate new show created by our Young Company that delves into connection and the ways in which the
world we are living in can make us feel lonely; it’s about doing life together. And as a producing theatre company, a venue, and a charity that collaborates on creative projects in our communities, that’s exactly what we’re here for.”

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