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The struggle for Newcastle

Press release   •   Jun 07, 2013 00:00 BST

Newcastle city centre is the setting for a political drama that pits rich against poor, in a play written and directed by Northumbria University academics.

GUTS – or, Grand Unified Theory of Structure – is a political fantasy about an entrepreneur’s attempt to turn Newcastle's Grainger Town into a colossal gated leisure complex exclusively for the rich. Only one man, Charlie, armed with a bucket and a hose pipe, can stop him.

Written by Peter Dillon, Associate Senior Lecturer in Script, and directed by Fiona Macpherson, Senior Lecturer in Performing Arts, the play will run from June 19 to 29 at the Mining Institute as part of the Festival of the North East.

The plot features a fictionalised owner of Newcastle United Football Club, Michael Carlisle, who thinks he can sweep away the old architecture of the city and replace it with his own grand architectural vision. However, sewer operative Charlie, is determined to save his city for the people.

Peter said: “GUTS poses the dilemma facing this city and many others during times of public austerity: how do you balance the social needs of a community with the aspirations of capitalist entrepreneurs?

“Should Newcastle’s fine classical buildings in Dobson and Grainger’s exquisitely planned 24-hour city centre for all be replaced by a 21st century pleasure dome for only those who can afford it?

“The Mining Institute, where the performance takes place, plays a principal role in this site-specific production. The performance allows the audience to experience the many wonders of this spectacular building in a unique way.”

The play delves into questions about what people love about Newcastle and what they want the future shape of the City to be. Combining archive photographs, animation, film footage of the past and imaginations of new developments, the show features live performances with professional actors and a talented young cast from Northumbria University.

GUTS will be showing at The Mining Institute, Westgate Road, from the 19-29 June. Tickets cost £10 (£6 concessions) and are available from the Mining Institute on 0191 233 2459 or Northumbria University on 0191 227 3620. Visit

Date posted: June 7, 2013

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