As the People’s Theatre’s redevelopment programme moves us forward to the next stage in our century-old history, we have decided that this would also be a good time to redesign our long-standing emblem, the phoenix.
This mythical bird of ancient legend is traditionally characterised as a brightly plumed creature which, after a long life, dies in a fire of its own making, only to rise again from its own ashes.
It first became our symbol after the theatre relocated from the city centre to Rye Hill in 1929.
This move to our third home since being founded in 1911 made the legendary symbol of rebirth and resurrection an appropriate one, and as the 1930s progressed it acquired a more Art Deco feel.
A further move to our present Heaton site in 1961 was to make the significance of the phoenix even more relevant to our story.
Very shortly after we vacated our old premises at Rye Hill, the deserted building burned down. Theatre member Jimmy Garbutt salvaged a few charred planks from the ruins, fashioning them into a representation of the legendary creature, which is still on display in our theatre today.
The version we’ve been using for the past few decades was designed in the 1960s and has served us well, but we now feel that it’s time to move on.
So once again, the phoenix – like the People’s Theatre – is reborn and we are delighted with the new emblem, designed by Newcastle upon Tyne’s JUMP.
This announcement coincides with tickets going on sale for our October 2015 – February 2016 Season.
The phoenix may be new, but we continue to present an eclectic mix of plays for our audiences.
We’ve got hard-hitting contemporary drama with a double-bill of Five Kinds of Silence by Shelagh Stephenson and The Zoo Story by Edward Albee in October, along with modern-life monologues in Ella Hickson’s Eight in February. There’s a new version by Nicholas Wright of the Chekhov classic Three Sisters in November, and an always popular Agatha Christie whodunit with Murder on the Nile in January.
Not forgetting, of course, the Pantomime in December. This year we’re excited to bring Beauty and the Beast to our stage, fun for the whole family and from the team behind last year’s sell-out hit Rapunzel.
It all kicks off in October with Alan Ayckbourn’s A Chorus of Disapproval, a rollicking comedy where backstage dramas threaten to overshadow the onstage antics of an amateur Operatic Society. Eagle-eyed readers looking through our new brochure may notice the play sporting a language and content warning. We want to reassure our audiences that this is an error and we are not presenting a radical new interpretation of this classic farce!
Tickets for all of the new Season plays (Oct ’15 – Feb ’16) are on sale now. To book please call the Box Office on 0191 265 5020 (option 2) or go online to www.peoplestheatre.co.uk
Our redevelopment will create a new studio theatre, make the building more accessible, more environmentally friendly and allow better community access. For more information, and to make a donation, please visit www.peoplesfund.org.uk