Cast and creatives announced for Shandyland by Gareth Farr incl. Denise Black, Steve Huison & William Ash (12-23 May at Northern Stage then touring)


Written by Gareth Farr, Directed by Hannah Banister 

At Northern Stage 12-23 May, then touring until July 

Spanning twenty years, Shandyland is a story of life, love, death and drink at the heart of a small, northern, family-run pub, and a shout of frustration from an abandoned working class community. Shandyland opens at Northern Stage (12-23 May), and after its Newcastle premiere will tour to Everyman, Liverpool (27 May – 6 June), Oldham Coliseum Theatre (9 – 20 June) and York Theatre Royal (23 June – 4 July).Writer Gareth Farr explains, “Shandyland deals with the divisions of a community and shines a light on what is happening within our often-overlooked working class towns. It is both a drama with charm and a comedy with punch. It has the heart of the working class running all the way through it. It celebrates a cast of lively, loveable and recognisable characters and asks what has happened over the past twenty years to make them feel so angry, unheard and forgotten.”

Denise Black will play pub landlady, Sally. Denise started out with Actor’s Touring Company (ATC) in the early ‘80s performing plays around the globe, and landed her first acting break in the UK in the title role of Pam Gems’ premiere of La Pasionaria at the Newcastle Playhouse (now Northern Stage). Denise says, “I played my first ever title role in a new play on this stage in 1984. It’s where I met Josie Lawrence and Kate McKenzie and we sang on tables and became Denise Black and the Kray Sisters! You can still hear us on Spotify and iTunes! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be coming back for Shandyland.”  Probably best known for TV roles in Coronation Street, Queer as Folk and Benidorm, Denise’s theatre credits include an award winning performance as Rainey in The Cherry Orchard (Sherman Theatre, Cardiff) for which she won Best Performance in a Play at the UK Theatre Awards, Martha in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf (Liverpool Playhouse) and title roles in Yerma and Mrs Warren’s Profession (Manchester Royal Exchange).

The cast also includes William Ash (recently seen in The Tunnel based on the original Swedish series, The Bridge, and Wanderlust with Toni Collette); Steve Huison as Brendan (Lomper in The Full Monty), Vivienne Bell as Karen (24 Hour Plays at the Old Vic and National Treasure for Channel 4); and Charlotte O’Leary as Amy (recent work includes The Witcher on Netflix and Daughterhood for Paines Plough) – please see the attached release for the full cast list.
The creative team are Director Hannah Banister – theatre credits include Things I Say When I Don’t Say I Love You (The Lowry/UK Tour); Hush (Paines Plough/Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama/Gate Theatre); Trapp (Old Vic) and Best Men (Southwark Playhouse); designer Rebecca Brower (The Last King of Scotland, Sheffield Crucible and Glass Menagerie, Arcola); lighting designer Lizzie Powell (What Girls Are Made Of, Traverse Theatre and Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, Live Theatre and UK tour); sound designer Nick John Williams (No Miracles Here, The Letter Room and The Tempest, Improbable Theatre/Oxford Playhouse/Northern Stage); and dramaturg Selma Dimitrijevic (dramaturgy work includes the Olivier-nominated Berenice for theRoyal Opera House and Sting’s musical The Last Ship for Northern Stage).

A Northern Stage co-production with Everyman, Liverpool, Oldham Coliseum Theatre, York Theatre Royal and Greyscale in association with Echo Presents and Matthew Schmolle Productions. Shandyland was originally developed by The Old Vic through The Old Vic 12 scheme which aims to nurture and develop the next generation of theatre practitioners.

Shandyland opens in Newcastle in May 2020 before going on tour until the end of July. For more information or to book tickets visit or call 0191 230 5151.