Doubling up at The Pennyweight, Darlington (following a sell-out on the first night), and adding in the Queen’s Hall Arts Centre in Hexham as well as the Northern Stage in Newcastle, local actress, Jade Byrne, will be in the midst of her UK tour next month.
Having begun in Cheltenham on April 25 the actress, who has appeared in television shows such as Inspector George Gently and Casualty among others, takes witty, yet serious stage play across the north, south, east and west of the country.
But it’s right here, at home, where she’s wanting to make a lasting impression, to begin with, hoping to sell-out the Hexham (May 10) and Newcastle (May 21), before taking on the world, the latter of which holding the fondest of memories for the now 33-year-old actress.
Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at aged four, this November marks the ‘thirtieth dia-versary’ of her diagnosis, along with a thirty year ‘adventure’ with her on-stage sidekick, a loveable rogue who goes by the name of Dennis the Menace.
Acting was something in which jade has always dreamed of though and she wasn’t prepared to let anything stand in her way.
After her on-stage bow in ‘Apples’ in late 2010, appearing in Middlesbrough author Richard Milward’s novel which was adapted for the stage by John Retallack, he bringing a number of local talent to the stage including Darlington’s Jade Byrne.
“I feel like Northern Stage is where my acting career was born; it was the first professional job I had and it was a big tour,” began Jade of her acting debut.
“Although it’s where my acting career was born, it was also a big stumbling block for me as well as I was totally spoilt.
“I turned up to a theatre after the get-in, arrived in a dressing room that already had my freshly washed and ironed costumes in, and I even had someone to help me get changed in the wings, so it gave me a very false sense of what reality is (in the industry).”
Unbowed Jade continued and, in playing single mum, Claire (pictured below alongside fellow actresses Abigail Moffatt and Therase Neve) took to the role like a duck to water, using that experience to forge herself an opening within the acting industry.
(Jade appearing in Apples, and below with two of her co-stars, Moffatt and Neve)
A massive confidence-booster Jade would go on to register several television credits that included Inspector George Gently (as Shelley Marshall in 2011), Mount Pleasant (as a receptionist in 2014) and, more recently, in Casualty (as Kelly Foster in 2015).
It is the stage itself though where she is presently making her name, with her self-penned biographical masterpiece, Pricks, an hour-long, warm, engaging and uplifting story in which Jade aims to educate, yet entertain people about Type 1 Diabetes – she has had over 70,000 pricks, of the medical kind, after all.
However, it’s appearing at venues like Queen’s Hall and Northern Stage that continue to excite the married, mother-of-two, thankful for the opportunity, knowledge, and everything else in-between, those early years afforded her.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’d work for them (Northern Stage) at the drop of a hat, I’d work for anyone like that at the drop of a hat, but I don’t think you can truly appreciate all the work that goes into a theatre piece until you’ve made one from scratch yourself,” continued Jade.
“Because of my experience with Northern Stage, I expected too much but the Open Clasp Theatre Company helped to bring me down a peg or two, as we had to do the get-ins ourselves, and we performed in lots of non-theatre venues, but still our costumes were always cleaned for us (from what I recall).”
Wanting everyone, the world over, to experience Pricks, and rightly so, it’s an hour in which you will laugh and smile, get a little blurry, and cry tears of joy, the stage presence is that affective.
Adding local dates into her tour was to be an obvious no-brainer, Jade adding: “The fact that Northern Stage, and other theatres alike, have now programmed Pricks gives me a huge sense of achievement.
“This is my baby, that I gave birth to, that I managed to create and people are appreciating it, which is all I can ask for really.
“I do all my own get-ins, the driving (well we share it), and I wash and iron my own costumes too.
“What I would really love to happen now though is for the Hexham Queens Hall and Northern Stage shows to sell out like other shows on my tour.
“Then I’ll be over the moon.”
If you’ve not witnessed Pricks first-hand, then the dates at The Pennyweight in Darlington (April 28 & 29, former is sold out), the Queen’s Hall Arts Centre in Hexham (May 10) and Northern Stage in Newcastle (May 21) can be purchased via the following links –